Zambian opposition prepares impeachment proceedings against president

Zambian opposition prepares impeachment proceedings against president

Zambia’s United Party for National Development (UPND) will officially introduce a motion to impeach incumbent President Edgar Lungu.

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Photo: Salim Dawood/Getty Images

Today, Zambia’s United Party for National Development (UPND) will officially introduce a motion to impeach incumbent President Edgar Lungu. The motion comes 19 months after Lungu secured the presidency in the first round of elections by a small margin, a result the UPND has decried as fraudulent collusion between Zambia’s electoral commission and the ruling Patriotic Front (PF).

With only 38% of seats in the National Assembly and few known potential PF defectors, the UPND’s chance of bringing Lungu to trial remains minute. This inherent disadvantage is compounded by a precedent of suspending UPND MPs and repressing civilian dissenters that denounce the legitimacy of Lungu’s leadership.

Shutting down the impeachment movement will likely galvanise opposition to push back against a state potentially heading towards dictatorship, especially if UPND representatives are indicted. If internal turmoil intensifies and Lungu reacts by enacting a state of emergency after protests in July, the safety and confidence of not only Zambian nationals but also residents of bordering Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe could be put into doubt. Watch for the severity of the reaction towards the impeachment to gauge Zambia’s short-term political climate that could have long-term repercussions.