Students protest xenophic attacks in neighbouring South Africa, opposition leader arrested

Peaceful Assembly

On 4th September 2019 protests organised by students erupted in Lusaka in reaction to xenophobic attacks on foreign Africans in South Africa. The students, who were from various institutions of higher learning, marched to the South African High Commission to deliver a petition as they chanted slogans denouncing the attacks. The students gave the South African government two days in which to stop the attacks on foreigners, failing which they would continue demonstrating. The recent wave of xenophobic attacks erupted in South Africa between August and September 2019 as weeks of looting and violence ensued, targeting mainly African foreigners who live and work in South Africa.

Expression

In late August 2019, the Zambian main opposition leader Chishimba Kambwili was arrested in Lusaka and taken into custody for allegedly insulting the president, Edgar Lungu. He was arrested on a charge of defamation of character for allegedly referring to the president as a dog, in a video that went viral on social media. Addressing journalists as he was led away by officers, Kambwili said his comments were misunderstood and that he should not have been arrested since his statement was within his exercise of the right to freedom of expression. In the video Kambwili had said, "Some dogs from Chawama do not get tired of travelling." Chawama is a township in the capital, Lusaka, where Lungu previously lived and served as a member of parliament. Kambwili and other opposition parties accused the president of cracking down on dissent.