Political Crisis in Zambia Worsened by Arrests of Key Opposition Figures-CDDR

Nevers Mumba and 4 MMD Mps in the Nkana East police cells

The Zambian government of President Michael Sata has violated local and international law with the December 10th arrest of opposition leader Nevers Mumba, according to a legal defence alliance.

Under the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Zambia has been a State Party since 1984, the unlawful jailing of Dr. Mumba by the police represents violations of his rights under Article 9.1 (right to liberty and freedom from arbitrary detention), Article 19 (freedom of opinion and expression), Article 22 (freedom of association) and Article 25 (a) (right to take part in the conduct of public affairs), said Robert Amsterdam, international lawyer and counsel to the Coalition for the Defence of Democratic Rights (CDDR).

Amsterdam further argued that the Zambian government’s arbitrary arrests of opposition members represent a violation of the principles enshrined in the African (Banjul) Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights under Article 13(1), which states that “Every citizen shall have the right to participate freely in the government of his country, either directly or through freely chosen representatives in accordance with the provisions of the law.”

“This politically motivated arrest is only the latest event in a series of repressive actions by the Patriotic Front administration against the opposition, which have curtailed the rights of citizens to free expression and association and damaged Zambia’s rule of law,” said Amsterdam. “It is our intention to document these flagrant abuses of civil rights by the Sata government and present briefs before Zambia’s international partners.”

Given that President Sata has personally intervened in the judicial process to accuse opponents while at the same time instructing anti-corruption authorities to ask his permission before prosecuting his ministers, we cannot expect fair treatment from the authorities with regard to Dr. Mumba

Dr. Mumba, who is president of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD), was arrested by the Zambian police on 10 December, during a visit to Kitwe on the Copperbelt. Police spokespersons accused Dr. Mumba of “unlawful assembly” and “conduct likely to breach the peace.” Later, four journalists were also arrested attempting to cover the story. The arrest comes after months of harassment of the MMD by the ruling party, including an attempted dissolution and a scandal involving a turncoat national secretary who attempted to invalidate Dr. Mumba’s presidency of the party, according to the CDDR.

On 11 December, police also arrested Edward Mumbi, who serves as advisor to Hakainde Hichilema of the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND). In response to these arrests, opposition MPs walked out of parliament in protest to go to State House to confront President Sata.

“Given that President Sata has personally intervened in the judicial process to accuse opponents while at the same time instructing anti-corruption authorities to ask his permission before prosecuting his ministers, we cannot expect fair treatment from the authorities with regard to Dr. Mumba,” said Amsterdam. “The CDDR stands behind other civil society organizations, such as the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ), which recently described the Zambian government’s conduct as a ‘breakdown of rule of law.’”

Amsterdam continued: “We are calling upon the media and international community to take note of this ruthless assault on the rights of Zambian people, which if left unchecked will surely only worsen.”

Representing a broad array of opposition parties, political figures, and private citizens, Coalition for the Defence of Democratic Rights (CDDR) is a legal defence alliance formed in Zambia in the fall of 2012 in response to increasing harassment and interference by the authorities and related parties. More information on the CDDR’s activities can be read at


  1. Sad chapter in Zambia’s history. KK days are here no doubt. I won’t be surprised if this country erupts in a violent civil war at the rate the govt is intimidating people. What the PF is forgetting is that people are in hurry to see development. 

    • Praying for peaceful resolutions concerning everything Zambia is facing.Praying for wisdom upon our opposition leaders so that they may stand up for Zambia’s freedom and liberties in a peaceful way, praying for a peaceful revolution. Speaking the blood of Jesus and Psalm 91 over Zambia.Zambia needs a 24/7 prayer watch.

  2. You refer to international statutes like Zambia does not have a constitution? Our constitution should be our guiding principle. So many countries in the world have violated those international statues way before PF. Yes, PF is violating the constitution by denying its citizens the opposition parties in this case freedom of assembly. If the our presindent violate the our contitution, then we have reason to impeach him ourselves, why are you calling upon the international communities to bring our president to order. lets first exhuast all avenue we have through our statutes and if that fails then we ask for help from outside.

  3. Amstadam panyo pake. this is not europe iwe chipuba where you want to to dispray your stinky white ass on issues that doent concern youiwe international fool

  4. What crisis? There is no political disaster in Zambia. The arrest of one Nevers Sekwila Mumba for violating the law as it stands today, does not in any way constitute a calamity to our young and dynamic democracy.
    The question we must be asking ourselves is: Did Nevers and his cronies break the law?
    If we are not happy with the POA as it stands today, lets have it amended to bring it in line with our changing times, but our MPs are extremely dull to contemplate progressive debates, all they envision outside stealing CDF is ubuchende at parliament motel. Contrary to assersions by Amsterdam, govt has not violated any international laws but has the responsibility to maintain law & order in the country

  5. is this organisation registered here in zaambia or its ilegal? how did andeleki allow such an organisation to be registered/ we need to know. zambia has its own laws and if nevers is incanserated for nothing then thats sad but he has a right to go to court afterwards. but if not then let him be punished.

  6. Sata and his minions are primitive! They are not cut for 21 st century Africa. Its time to put that fossil in a museum!

  7. #7 I totally agree with your comment…..so even if an opposition MP breaks the law people will be quick to claim oppression while our constitution suffers silently….people its not right with all due respect…..feeling sorry on breaking the law is just croccodile tears

  8. Iwe Amsterdam or whatever your name is. Law breakers belong to the jail. Advise your friends to follow the law and nothing will happen to them. Why did you not comment on Former Italian Pm when he was convicted by ther courts. Stop meddling in the internal affairs of the Zed Government.

  9. Amsterdam, which Political crisis, in your head????? We the people of Zambia want development and so far I particularly I am happy at the pace taking into consideration the mess the current Government had to contend with upon assuming office. Your friend sent thugs to beat up an elderly man, where were you for I did not see your comments. Ati political crisis, kuti waseka!!

  10. To hell with Amsterdam!!!!! Who is he to comment on Zambian affairs? PF must be very strong before the opposition cause havoke in our country!!!! Let us all follow the law and stay out of trouble.

  11. It is very surprising to see an international acclaimed lawyer behaving in this manner. Amsterdam has no professional ethics at all. What he is carrying in his small heart is hatred again people like HEMCS but he will get to no where. He has tried every means to discredit our president but has failed. My advise to him is that as long as we Zambians love our president no weapon formed against him shall prosper. He is fighting a losing battle. Gone are days when AFRICA used to beg Europe and USA for assistance. Africa is now a Giant. We have minerals and plenty of land for agriculture. So continue with your fight against a legitimate gvt and we see what happens

  12. Amsterdam: keep your mercenary practices in your country. We don’t want you anywhere near our country or constitution. Go hang!

  13. DID someone dream there was a political crisis in Zambia?
    Be realistic. There is no political crisis in Zambia. Perhaps someone needs to define for the originator of the article what political crisis looks like.

    If one has issues with the government because they are denied their ill gotten wealth, they should not translate this to mean political crisis. We are not stupid. We know that there are people who are up to no good when someone who does not support their corruption becomes a leader. This happens at all level and in every institution.

  14. #7 litunga i share your sentiments but a warning,should have been first before such extreme action of arrest.Even Nevers you should stop playing with fire for publicity or pity from well wishers.

  15. Amsterdam is desperate, he cannot find anyone to support his fake claims. EU countries despise plunders in third world countries because it is their money they are stealing which they donate to these nations. He is trying to legitimize his client who is a plunderer and hold the whole nation of our beloved Zambia hostage by demonizing a legitimate government. This guy should be labelled as enemy of state and anyone found conniving with him should face the law. War-mongers should not be tolerated, we love our country as it is and we don’t need  a hired mercenary to plunge the country into chaos. Mumba should grow up and stop petty publicity to divert attention from problems in his party!  

  16. Ba Sata twafweni, when Rupiah Banda was busy mistreating you, we were by your side. Two wrongs never make a right. Me personally I like you as a person coz of your hard work ++. Surely ba Sata, this is very very bad. We r supposed to be leaders when it comes to democracy. Plz take us forward and NOT backwards. I almost got a strock after reading this. Plz, Plz twafweni ba Sata… Remember 1 thing, after all your hard working good days and now honestly you remain with few days b4 you go to heaven and therefore you shld leave something nice that your people like me will be able to remember and carry forward.
    My full names Sianga Nyambe

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