Former Zambian president mocks authorities over ‘permit’

Zambia’s former President Edgar Lungu made a startling statement Monday mocking authorities over an alleged permit for him to appear in public.

Attending the funeral of a late freedom fighter in the capital, Lusaka, Lungu told mourners: “Thank you all and God bless you. I am scared I can be arrested for not having a permit,” adding a loud laugh.

Lungu was ousted from power in 2021 when he lost a general election to incumbent Hakainde Hichilema.

He then announced his political retirement. But his latest public appearances have been accompanied by speculation that he is still politically active.

On Sunday, Zambia Police Spokesperson Rae Hamoonga cautioned that Lungu’s routine jog this past weekend had turned into “political activism,” causing a traffic disturbance.

Hamoonga said authorities would not allow a repeat of such occurrences and advised Lungu to restrict his exercise routine to the participation of only his security detail.

On Friday, Deputy President Mutale Nalumango told parliament that it was time that Lungu went public on his political status, especially since he was drawing constitutional benefits attached to the office of a former president.

Further adding to the speculation were recent remarks attributed to members of the Patriotic Front, the party which sponsored Lungu’s candidature in 2021, indicating that he was still the party’s leader for a five-year term running until 2026 when the country will hold its next general election.

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