Zambia’s Former President Lungu Seeks Legal Redress Over Travel Restrictions
Travel Restrictions on Zambia’s Former President
Edgar Lungu, the former president of Zambia, has initiated legal proceedings against the Zambian government, alleging that he was unlawfully prevented from travelling to South Korea. It is claimed that Lungu was invited to attend a world peace conference; however, his trip was abruptly cancelled after he was removed from his plane prior to departure.
According to Lungu, the reason given for his ejection from the plane was a lack of government clearance for his travel. The former president is now seeking a judicial review of this decision in the Lusaka High Court. His political party, the Patriotic Front (PF), has criticized the government’s purported action, describing it as unlawful.
Details of the Legal Proceedings
Lungu’s legal challenge has been filed in the High Court of Lusaka. The application alleges that the Zambian authorities denied him permission to fly out to South Korea, leading to his abrupt ejection from the plane. The former president is seeking an order of certiorari to quash the decision of the Director General of Zambia’s Department of Immigration to deny him exit out of Zambia. He is also seeking a stay on the decision of the Director General of Immigration and a refund for the cost of the air tickets.
The application cited Zambia’s Attorney General as the respondent in the matter. The case is scheduled to be heard by High Court Judge Charles Zulu.
Political Fallout and Reactions
The Patriotic Front (PF), the political party of former President Lungu, has spoken out against the government’s actions. Emmanuel Mwamba, the PF national chairperson for information and publicity, told the media that Lungu was “literally ejected from the plane” after being cleared and issued with a boarding pass. Mwamba described the incident as involving an “uncomfortable delay” before a protocol officer approached Lungu and informed him that the trip had been cancelled.
Lungu, who served as Zambia’s sixth republican president, left office in August 2021 after losing the election to the incumbent, Hakainde Hichilema. Lungu’s legacy has been further complicated by a government seizure of some 20 properties linked to his family, an act his lawyer has denounced as a “political witch hunt”.
Concerns about Political Persecution
Emmanuel Mwamba, a spokesman for Lungu’s Patriotic Front party, has accused the government of “abusing the law”. Mwamba claimed that the properties linked to Lungu were seized before investigations were finalized, and described the actions as a “political witch hunt”.
Zambia’s current president, Hakainde Hichilema, has launched a crackdown on corruption since taking office. However, critics argue that this campaign is targeted at political opponents. The government’s actions have been met with concerns and criticism from human rights organizations and opposition parties alike.
The recent legal actions and property seizures surrounding Zambia’s former President Edgar Lungu have stirred controversy and political tensions within the country. The case highlights the ongoing political and legal struggles in Zambia, as well as the broader challenges faced by political leaders in maintaining a balance between anti-corruption efforts and political neutrality. As Lungu’s case proceeds, it will undoubtedly continue to attract both national and international attention.
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