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Friday, June 11, 2021

Global academic support for Sishuwa against charges of sedition soars

Columns Global academic support for Sishuwa against charges of sedition soars

We, the undersigned, as prominent academics across Zambia, Africa and the wider world, are deeply alarmed at credible reports that the University of Zambia (UNZA) historian, Dr Sishuwa Sishuwa, is to be charged with sedition, as the result of an opinion piece he published in the Mail and Guardian (South Africa), on 22 March 2021.

As historians and social scientists who have studied and published in and about Zambia for many decades, we are extremely concerned that the threat of sedition charges is being used to silence the legitimate expression of belief by one of the country’s most prominent early-career scholars. Dr Sishuwa, who has published outstanding and prize-winning research articles in the world’s most prominent African studies journals, is drawing on his research expertise to bring to public attention his concerns about the current direction of Zambian political life. Far from inciting popular rebellion (as the term ‘sedition’ implies), he seeks to address the underlying causes of societal tension as a way to reduce it. We believe it is both his right and his patriotic duty to bring such concerns into the public eye. Article 20 of the Constitution of Zambia guarantees Dr Sishuwa and all other Zambians freedom of expression, that is to say freedom to hold opinions, receive ideas and impart or communicate ideas and information without interference.

As citizens and longstanding friends of Zambia, who have documented the country’s prominent historical role in the political liberation of southern Africa, and its pioneering role in constitutional democratisation, we are worried about the proposed use of an authoritarian tool such as the charge of sedition, and call for any consideration of such charges to be immediately and permanently dropped.

We are further alarmed at the issuance by the University of Zambia of a statement dated 27 April 2021, disassociating the university from its employee Dr Sishuwa. This misleading statement suggests Dr Sishuwa is not currently employed by the university, when in fact he is, as is normal for academic researchers, simply on temporary research leave from it. Indeed, as recently as December last year, UNZA publicly celebrated the achievements of Dr Sishuwa.

All of us have worked at or with colleagues from UNZA, long a prominent university that has, since independence, been a centre of intellectual freedom, often in difficult circumstances. We wholly reject the allegation that Dr Sishuwa is pursuing a ‘personal agenda’ and call on the university to guarantee Dr Sishuwa’s continued employment and his right to academic freedom.


  1. Professor Rita Abrahamsen, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa

  2. Dr Michael Aeby, Research Associate, IDCCPA University of Cape Town & University of Edinburgh

  3. The African Studies Association of Africa

  4. Professor Akosua Adomako Ampofo, University of Ghana, and President of the African Studies Association of Africa

  5. Professor David M. Anderson, Professor of African History, University of Warwick

  6. Professor Kate Baldwin, Associate Professor of Political Science, Yale University

  7. Professor Robert Bates, Eaton Professor Emeritus of the Science of Government, Harvard University

  8. Dr Nicole Beardsworth, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Pretoria

  9. Sarah Bellows-Blakely, Research Fellow in Global Intellectual History, Freie Universität Berlin

  10. Dr Eloïse Bertrand, Research Fellow, University of Portsmouth

  11. Dr Chaloka Beyani, Professor of International Law, Law Department, London School of Economics and Political Science.

  12. Professor Catherine Boone, Department of International Development, London School of Economics and Political Science

  13. Professor Michael Bratton, Emeritus Professor of Government, Michigan State University

  14. Caesar Cheelo, Research Economist – Trade and Customs Division, COMESA Secretariat 

  15. Professor Nic Cheeseman, Professor of Democracy, University of Birmingham

  16. Dr Grieve Chelwa, Postdoctoral Fellow, The New School

  17. Geoffrey Chibuye, Independent 

  18. Professor Simukai Chigudu, Associate Professor of African Politics, University of Oxford

  19. Dr Isaac Chinyoka, Centre for Social Science Research, University of Cape Town

  20. Roy Clarke, former lecturer in Education at the University of Zambia, 1979-89, political satirist at the Post Newspaper 1996-2009

  21. Dr Michaela Collord, Junior Research Fellow, New College, University of Oxford

  22. Leila Demarest, Assistant Professor of African Politics, Institute of Political Science, Leiden University

  23. Dr Kim Yi Dionne, Associate Professor of Political Science, UC Riverside

  24. Professor Gregor Dobler, Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

  25. Professor Lindiwe Dovey, Professor of Film and Screen Studies, School of Arts, SOAS University of London

  26. Dr Boniface Dulani, Senior Lecturer in Political Science, University of Malawi

  27. Dr Jonathan Fisher, Reader in African Politics, University of Birmingham

  28. Dr Alastair Fraser, Department of Politics and International Studies, SOAS, University of London

  29. Dr Elena Gadjanova, Lecturer in Politics, University of Exeter

  30. Courtney Hallink, PhD student, University of Cambridge 

  31. Professor Antoinette Handley, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto

  32. Dr Anne Heffernan, Assistant Professor in Southern African History, Durham University

  33. Sacha Hepburn, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Birkbeck, University of London 

  34. Professor Samuel Hickey, Professor of Politics and Development, University of Manchester

  35. Marja Hinfelaar, Director of Research and Programmes, Southern African Institute for Policy and Research

  36. Professor Alan Hirsch, Emeritus Professor of Public Governance, University of Cape Town

  37. Dr Dan Hodgkinson, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, University of Oxford

  38. Professor Kristine Höglund, Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University.  

  39. Dr Chris Huggins, Assistant Professor, School of International Development and Global Studies, University of Ottawa

  40. Professor Faizel Ismail, Professor of Public Governance, University of Cape Town

  41. Zenobia Ismail, Research Fellow, Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham

  42. Samson Itodo, Yiaga Africa 

  43. Professor Hambaba Jimaima, Department of Literature and Languages, University of Zambia

  44. Diana Jeater, Associate Dean, Department of History, University of Liverpool

  45. Dr Will Jones, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, Department of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy, Royal Holloway, University of London

  46. Dr Walima Kalusa, Senior Lecturer in African History, University of eSwatini, and former Head of the Department of History, University of Zambia

  47. Lillian Kamusiime, Independent

  48. Dr Julius Kapembwa, Lecturer in Philosophy, The University of Zambia. 
  49. Victor Kanyense, Indeepndent Social Scientist & Development Specialist 

  50. Professor Chammah J. Kaunda, Assistant Professor of World Christianity and Mission Studies, Yonsei University

  51. Kalaluka Kapungu, Citizen of Zambia

  52. Stephen Kamugasa, Independent Researcher

  53. Rita Kesselring, Senior Lecturer at the Institute for Social Anthropology, University of Basel

  54. Aikande C. Kwayu, Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  55. Stephanie Lämmert, Researcher, Max Planck Institute for Human Development

  56. Professor Miles Larmer, Professor of African History, University of Oxford

  57. Professor Baz Lecocq, Chair African History, Institute for Asian and African Studies, Humboldt University of Berlin

  58. Professor Staffan I. Lindberg, Director, V-Dem Institute, of Political Science, University of Gothenburg

  59. Sworo Nelson Henry Lo’boka, Africa Call, South Sudan

  60. Dr Terrence Lyons, Associate Professor, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, George Mason University

  61. Professor Adrienne LeBas, Associate Professor of Government, American University

  62. Dr Reuben A. Loffman, Lecturer in African History, Queen Mary University of London 

  63. Professor Gabrielle Lynch, Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick. 

  64. Dr Ainara Mancebo, Research Scholar, Ronin Institute

  65. Hugh Macmillan, Research Fellow, University of Oxford

  66. Kuukuwa Manful, PhD Researcher, SOAS, University of London

  67. Professor Robert Mattes, Professor of Political Science, University of Strathclyde

  68. Monte McMurchy, Rector American Christian Liberal Arts University Congo—UCI

  69. Professor Henning Melber, Nordic Africa Institute; University of Pretoria; University of the Free State

  70. Kelvin Mambwe, University of Zambia Lecturers and Researchers’ Union

  71. Robert Molteno, formerly Lecturer in Political Science and Public Administration, University of Zambia, 1968-1976

  72. Dr Duncan Money, Researcher, African Studies Centre, University of Leiden

  73. Jason Mosley, Research Associate, African Studies Centre, Oxford University

  74. Steriah Mudenda, School of Education, The University of Zambia

  75. Hassan Mudane, Lecturer, Department of Political Science, City University of Mogadishu.

  76. John Munkombwe, Lecturer, Institute of Distance Education, The University of Zambia

  77. Dr Patience Mususa, Senior Researcher, Nordic Africa Institute

  78. Victor Mutelelekesha, Contemporary Artist, Founder of The Lusaka Contemporary Art Centre

  79. Jean Mwape, Citizen of Zambia

  80. Dr Mack Ndawana, IFP Subject Lead, Centre for Academic Language and Development, University of Bristol

  81. Youngson Ndawana, Lecturer in Media Studies, University of Zambia

  82. Professor Manenga Ndulo, Professor of Economics, University of Zambia

  83. Professor Muna Ndulo, Professor of Law, Cornell University

  84. Daniel Munday, PhD Candidate, University of Birmingham

  85. Dr Bruce Mutsvairo, Professor of Journalism, Auburn University

  86. Chantry Mweemba, International Relations and Human Rights expert

  87. Olívio Nkilumbu – Professor, Politólogo e Consultor Político, Magistério Mutu Ya Kevela e Universidade Óscar Ribas

  88. Nanjala Nyabola, Independent Researcher

  89. Dr Robert Nyenhuis, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Cal Poly Pomona

  90. Dr Ken O. Opalo, Assistant Professor, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University 

  91. Dr Dan Paget, Lecturer in Politics, University of Aberdeen

  92. Dr Michael Panzer, Adjunct Professor in History, Marist College

  93. Dr Lazlo Passemiers, Senior Lecturer, University of the Free State, South Africa

  94. Dr Justin Pearce, Research Fellow Global Soldiers, University of Sussex

  95. Professor Didier Péclard, Associate Professor of Politics and African Studies, University of Geneva

  96. Dr Iva Pesa, Assistant Professor Contemporary History, University of Groningen

  97. Professor Anne Pitcher, Department of Political Science, University of Michigan

  98. Professor Daniel Posner, Department of Political Science, UCLA

  99. Dr Deborah Potts, Emeritus Reader in Human Geography, King’s College London

  100. Professor Lise Rakner, Professor of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen

  101. Professor Brian Raftopoulos, Research Fellow, University of the Free State

  102. Elelwani Ramugondo, Chairperson of the Academic Freedom Committee, University of Cape Town

  103. Cleopas Sambo, Lecturer, Department of Social Work & Sociology, University of Zambi

  104. Dr Sara Rich Dorman, Senior Lecturer in African Politics, University of Edinburgh

  105. Professor Oliver Saasa, Professor of International Economic Relations & Chancellor, Mulungushi University

  106. Pamela Towela Sambo, Lecturer, School of Law, University of Zambia

  107. Dr Edalina Rodrigues Sanches, Assistant Professor, ISCTE – University Institute of Lisbon (Portugal) 

  108. Dr Jenna Sapiano, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre (GPS), Monash University

  109. Professor Chris Saunders, Emeritus Professor of Historical Studies, University of Cape Town

  110. Nicolai Schulz, Postdoctoral Researcher, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

  111. Dr Laura E. Seay, Assistant Professor, Department of Government, Colby College

  112. Dr Marcia C. Schenck , Professor of Global History, University of Potsdam

  113. Professor Jeremy Seekings, Professor of Political Studies and Sociology, University of Cape Town

  114. Professor David Simon, Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK

  115. Eunifridah Simuyaba, Lecturer, University of Zambia 

  116. Dr Neo Simutanyi, retired Senior Lecturer in Political Science, University of Zambia and Executive Director, Centre for Policy Dialogue

  117. Doreen Sitali, School of Public Health, University of Zambia

  118. Dr Lahra Smith, Associate Professor, African Studies Program & Department of Government, Georgetown University

  119. Christian von Soest, Lead Research Fellow, Head of Peace and Security Research Program, German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA)

  120. Dr Morris Szeftel, Senior Lecturer Emeritus, Political & International Studies, University of Leeds

  121. Professor Blessing-Miles Tendi, Associate Professor in African Politics, University of Oxford

  122. Professor Aili Mari Tripp, Wangari Maathai Professor of Political Science and Gender & Women’s Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  123. Dr Robin L. Turner, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science, Butler University

  124. Bridget Bwalya Umar, Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Zambia

  125. Professor Peter VonDoepp, Dept. of Political Science, University of Vermont

  126. Professor Nicolas van de Walle, Professor of Government, Cornell University

  127. Dr Michael Wahman, Assistant Professor, Michigan State University

  128. Martin Waithaka, Independent

  129. Dr Peter Wafula Wekesa, Department of History, Kenyatta University, Kenya. 

Source: Democracy in Africa


  1. Fuseke. You think those letters after your names will shake us? We have credible independent courts of law for a reason. I am sure if you are learned you would appreciate the need to respect the rule of law where one is suspected of wrong doing. If your f00lish friend believes he has done nothing wrong then let him stand before the courts and prove his innocence. Don’t forget that the judges are probably more learned than all of you. So do not belittle our courts and rules of law. This f00lish boy was warned by me personally for many years. He didn’t listen. Now let him be a man

  2. KZ the imbecile cockroach does not understand these academics have the power of the pen.

    Sanctions need to be placed on Zambia especially the thief lungu with his minions and you included.

    I wonder how you got that last name when you were conceived by a prostitute somewhere in tongaland.

  3. How I wish these 129 signatories were transformed into votes for UPND for which purpose the contentious article primarily was published. Am afraid all these accolades are meant for Dr Sishuwa Sishuwa.

  4. How can the below average educationally challenged appreciate scholarly discourse? UNZA is being chicken to wash its hands off Dr. Sishuwa as an employee of the university. Universities are breeding grounds for free thinking and activism much more informed dignified debate involving different schools of thought. The politician does not have a mind capable of understanding prompters of research and academia follow ups on findings!

  5. Scouser aka Jonathan, don’t be upset just because I slept with your mother many years ago when I was still in secondary school. You think I don’t know who you are ? You ran away abroad and here I am now doing much better than you. Don’t take it personal

  6. Look at the intellectuals coming to the fore and defending the intellectual Sishuwa, Sishuwa an asset to mother Zambia, and one full above has the audacity to insult. Any way let me not say much, as the difference might not be differentiated

  7. flag Corruption scandals: 48 Houses Social Security Cash Luxury Presidential Jet Ambulances Fire Trucks Mukula Trees Ndola-Lusaka Rd Malawi Maizegate Fuelgate Swaziland landgate Zesco Loans

    How do I add my name to this distinguished list of names… I need to show my solidarity to Dr Sishuwa!

  8. It is good that the academics are coming out openly. They are exposing themselves and now we know who is traitor and snake in the sleeve. It’s time to identify all the traitors and save the country.

  9. Those who are not Zambians should not poke their nose where it doesn’t belong. We will handle our problems and we know how to do that. If you are so worried about that traitor Sishuwa, take him to your country for ever. We don’t need him

  10. The world is full of m0r0ns who have nothing constructive to do. I am amused to see close to 200 so called academicians who have so much time to waste on someone like Sishuwa who has been conspiring against his motherland. He is paid by none other than Hakainde Hichilema. I would like to tell one thing to these good for nothing academicians to watch their own house. Don’t try to teach us.

  11. You got to be shameless of first order to sign such atrocious statement. This makes you equally liable for sedition. Be ready to face it.

  12. I didn’t know that there were so many foreign agents hiding in the country! Now I am convinced that they are crying foul against ECL because they know he will end their dirty game.

  13. Who said you all are prominent academicians? To me you appear to be prominent anti national elements.

  14. @Chimuka Your wish will never be fulfilled. When it comes to real fight and struggle, these academicians are the first to tuck their tails in legs and run away. So, don’t keep hopes from them. They are only interested in the money they are getting from Hakainde Hichilema.

  15. @THE SAINT How can UPND attack Sishuwa? Afterall, he is HH’s stooge. He has planted Sishuwa to defame Zambia.

  16. All the Zambian academics who are supporting Sishuwa should first resign from their jobs, surrender all the facilities they are enjoying at the cost of tax payers and then do whatever they want to. I don’t want to waste my hard earned money on this ba$tards.

  17. @Nemwine If your heart goes for this traitor, then why don’t you join him, wherever he is? If Sishiwa thinks whatever he wrote was justified, why is he not coming to Zambia, why is he hiding in some country?

  18. flag Corruption scandals: 48 Houses Social Security Cash Luxury Presidential Jet Ambulances Fire Trucks Mukula Trees Ndola-Lusaka Rd Malawi Maizegate Fuelgate Swaziland landgate Zesco Loans

    #14 to #23… same dude working tirelessly to post under various aliases thinking people will theink they are many different people. Get a life dude!

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