On Wednesday, the Zambian government rejected all allegations by Amnesty International about restricting citizen’s freedoms in the southern African country.
‘The government of the Republic of Zambia categorically disputes Amnesty International’s alleged findings that the government restricts freedom of expression, association, and assembly,’ said Permanent Secretary in the Zambian Ministry of Information and broadcasting services Amos Malupenga.
He added that contrary to Amnesty International’s assertions in its 2021 report on Zambia, a vibrant civil society exists in Zambia, alongside thriving independent media and an impartial judiciary that protects civil liberties and checks for possible excesses of the executive.
‘The Zambian people are free to criticize the leaders, while the opposition parties are allowed to organize public meetings in accordance with the law and public health directives in force following the Covid-19 pandemic,’ he continued.
Mr. Malupenga argued that ‘the health guidelines are not applied only in Zambia, and it is therefore not true that people who engage in activities prohibited in the current context have been accidentally arrested’.
‘The allegations that many people have been arrested for exercising their right to freedom of expression (…) are false,’ he insisted.
Noting that the Zambian government respects human rights and exercises its prerogatives within the limits of the law, Malupenga assured ‘Zambian citizens and the international community that there is no reason to be alarmed and that the authorities were doing everything possible for the country to organize free and fair elections on August 12, 2021’.