25 February 2019

Zambia Police Detain Lungu Critic

Photo: Michael Chawe/Nation Media Group
Zambian politician Chishimba Kambwili who was detained on February 25, 2019.

Zambia police Monday arrested and detained President Edgar Lungu's critic Chishimba Kambwili on suspicions of "xenophobia".

"Police in Lusaka have arrested Roan legislator Chishimba Kambwili and charged him with expression or showing hatred, ridicule or contempt for persons because of race, tribe or place of origin or colour contrary to the penal code," reported state radio, quoting police spokeswoman Esther Katongo.

Mr Kambwili's lawyer Christopher Mundia said his client was detained awaiting court appearance Tuesday.

Mr Kambwili was President Lungu's ally and served as Information minister. He was sacked for unclear reasons and he now consults with an opposition outfit, the National Democratic Congress.

Went viral

He was also facing fraud allegations, which was deemed politically motivated.

In a social media video that went viral last week, Mr Kambwili was seen shouting at a person of Asian origin at a road construction site, telling him to go back to his country.

The police were also pursuing him for a breach of security at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport.

He allegedly breached security after forcing himself into the airport through a restricted area when he went to welcome a relative, police said.

Zambia Airports Corporation Limited public relations manager Mweembe Sikaulu said the security breach had been reported to the police.

Security officers

Police said an investigation into the matter was underway.

A video where Mr Kambwili was captured at the airport has since gone viral on social media.

He waved off porters and security officers who sought to stop him from proceeding to the arrival terminal.

President Lungu has been accused of persecuting the opposition, with the latter's members threatening to report him to the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

The president, the opposition alleged, was to blame for an increase in violent crackdowns on opponents.

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