Amnesty International has expressed concern over Zambia’s deteriorating human rights record ahead of the 12 August election.
According to the rights group, the past five years have seen “an increasingly brutal crackdown on human rights, characterised by brazen attacks on any form of dissent”, the organisation’s director for East and South Africa, Deprose Muchena, said.
He said protests were being stopped with “unlawful and lethal force” amid intimidation against those who spoke about corruption allegations facing the regime.
Amnesty says the last five years – under President Edgar Lungu – have been marked by media censorship, use of “excessive force” by the police, arrests and detention, which have created fear.
Amnesty also said a 15-year-old boy was arrested and charged in March last year after he allegedly criticised President Lungu on Facebook.
It also mentions the shooting dead of two people during a gathering of opposition supporters in December as well as a student killed two years earlier during a violent dispersal of a student protest.
“Such impunity is now entrenched in Zambia,” Amnesty says, while calling for the authorities to respect human rights ahead and after the August elections.