DA leader Mmusi Maimane says the instituting of a 90-day state of emergency is an attempt by President Edgar Lungu to cement a dictatorship in Zambia by stifling any dissenting voices that do not agree with him.
This comes after Zambia’s parliament on Tuesday approved the state of emergency despite opposition MP’s boycotting the vote.
A vocal critic of Lungu’s rule, Maimane has called for an urgent meeting of the Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation Organ of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to consider the developments in Zambia.
SADC has a responsibility to protect the people of Zambia and democracy in the region, and it has the power to act against Zambia.
Maimane also went a step further issuing a challenge to President Jacob Zuma to declare against Lungu. Maimane and the DA have previously accused the ANC and the South African government of standing idle while human rights abuse occur in Zambia.
“The “quiet diplomacy” of the past cannot be allowed to repeat itself and as history has shown, the potential to allow for democracy to be undermined,” said Maimane.
Back in May, the Zambian government blocked Maimane from entering the country after he made it known that he wanted to attend opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema’s court appearance on treason charges.
With the state of emergency in effect, Lungu will now be empowered to ban publications, search any property without a search warrant, order detention without trial, implement a curfew and restrict movement of assembly.
On Tuesday the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) held a picket outside the Zambian High Commission in Pretoria calling for Lungu to step down.