The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) is set to hold a picket outside the Zambian High Commission in Pretoria calling for an end to President Edgar Lungu’s rule.
“Numsa wants to see all workers on the continent liberated from fear and repressive regimes,” said Acting Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi.
According to the union its planned picket, which will take place today, is a sign of solidarity with church groups The Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) and the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) which have recently denounced Lungu’s presidency.
“The three arms of the church have condemned ‘the muzzling of peoples freedoms and the violation of basic human rights’ which have occurred under President Lungu’s leadership and they have bravely denounced his administration for being despotic.
“Zambians themselves are calling for an end to the tyranny. It is time for the Patriotic Front and for Lungu to heed that call,” said Hlubi.
Recently Lungu has come under fire for invoking article 31 of the constitution– Declaration Relating to Threatened Emergency will see him being given more powers.
Should it be granted Lungu would be able to restrict movement of assembly, implement a curfew, as well as ban publications and search property without a search warrant.
Lungu has also been criticised for the detention of opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema in April on treason charges.
In May the Zambian government blocked opposition leader Mmusi Maimane from entering the country after he made it known that he wanted to attend Hichilema’s court appearance.
The Zambian High Commissioner said that Maimane stating that he intended to mobilise opposition parties in Zambia to pressure the government to release Hichilema also played a role in his barring.