Thursday, July 25, 2024

A Zambian is jailed every month for insulting President Hichilema


By Maiko Zulu


I had a chat with Dr Sishuwa Sishuwa yesterday. He posed a few questions and said something that left me troubled. I asked him for permission to reproduce part of our conversation. Here is part of what he wrote to me during our chat:

“More people have been arrested and jailed for defamation of the president in Hichilema’s first year than were under six years of Lungu. On average, a Zambian is jailed every month for insulting President Hichilema. Take the last 4 months as an example.

In May, Andsen Zulu, a 46-year-old driver of Evelyn Hone College in Lusaka was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for defaming Hichilema.

In July, Danny Kapambwe, 28, and Justine Chimpinde, 19, both unemployed and from Chiengi, were jailed for two years with hard labour for insulting the President on TikTok!

In August, Benson Tembo, a man of God in Chipata, was sent to 15 months imprisonment for calling Hichilema a satanist.

I will not take about the arrests of citizens using the law on defamation of the president because these are a regular staple under the Hichilema presidency. Just the other day, on 1st September, police in Lusaka arrested Lawrence Bwalya Muchinda, an unemployed 35-year old man for alleged defamation of the president. On the same day, police arrested Sean Tembo, a 42-year-old opposition leader, for allegedly insulting the president.

I have two questions.

First, why isn’t this new onslaught on human rights and democracy in Zambia attracting much outrage from the Human Rights Commission, from broad sections of civil society organisations, from international human rights bodies, and from Western diplomats – as the old onslaught did under Lungu? Is there a specific threshold of human rights violations that these actors and institutions are waiting for before they can raise their voice against these continuing attacks on political and civil rights?

Second, how does Hichilema sleep peacefully amidst all these arrests and imprisonments of citizens, for “insulting” and “defaming” him, that are being carried out in his official name? This is a man who, when in opposition, promised to repeal the defamation law immediately he assumes office but he is now presiding over the arrests and jailing of citizens using the same law he criticised and condemned under the PF. What really happens to people after winning power? Repeal of an Act of Parliament only requires a simple majority!


Politicians sometimes behave like they are born from the same mother…open to feedback when in opposition but easily get intoxicated when handed power. Worse, they don’t even learn from those before them and yet they get surprised when voters give them the boot for their arrogance. Their behaviour is similar to that of minibus drivers…very nice to you before you jump on their bus but they will either haul insults on you or be quick to flex their muscle once inside, especially when you remind them of their responsibilities.

The truth is that all these arrests and jailings of Hichilema’s critics are happening because the legal architecture that enabled the authoritarian tendencies of Lungu and previous leaders remains unchanged under Hichilema. We often forget that it is not about the persona or goodness of the President; it is about institutional reforms.

Although it has slightly improved under Hichilema, Zambia’s democratic trajectory remains most concerning. Based on its track record over the last 12 months, the Hichilema administration has shown a lack of willingness to make structural changes to strengthen accountable, democratic governance. As a result, Zambian institutions will remain as susceptible to manipulation as they were under Lungu.”



  1. Don’t you have any other important stuff to do than insulting a working president. Why the bleep does humans have to sink so low to validate themselves. There’s nothing wrong being in opposition for as long as you can man up and stop being a petulant man-child. Never insult the president, question or criticize respectfully.

    • What is worse is that people get imprisoned on a wrong charge. The driver said HH wasn’t a Christian. Surely that is not defamation. The case needs to be reviewed. Tembo has been imprisoned just for being accused of defamation no conviction but he is detained

    • In four months, six citizens, same crime!
      1. May, Andsen Zulu, 46 years-12 years
      2. July, Danny Kapambwe- 2 years
      3. July, Justine Chiminde- 2 years
      4. August, Benson Tembo- 1¼ years
      5. September, Lawrence Muchinda- ?? years
      6. September, Sean Tembo- ??? years.
      It is unpresidented. We have six past presidents. It is a test on power, leniency and tolerance.

    • In four months, six citizens, same crime!
      1. May, Andsen Zulu- 1 year
      2. July, Danny Kapambwe- 2 years
      3. July, Justine Chiminde- 2 years
      4. August, Benson Tembo- 1¼ years
      5. September, Lawrence Muchinda- ?? years
      6. September, Sean Tembo- ??? years.
      It is unpresidented. It is a test on power, leniency and tolerance.

    • Please, do not blame Mr. HH for being the president of Zambia. Stop shifting the common problem from incarcerated criminals to Mr. HH’s door step. Mr. HH is a victim and his offenders should stop playing victimhood. All offenders who verbally abuse Mr. HH should be held responsible for their illicit behaviours. The genuine victim is Mr. HH, not the abusers who insult him. Law enforcers (for example the police) should not be blamed for effecting arrests of lawbreakers. In fact, the police should be commended for arresting the offenders. Added to this, the offenders should be compelled to apologise to Mr. HH for harming his reputation and relegating his standing in society. The author of the main article must be questioned and thoroughly investigated in order to ascertain his/her real…

  2. we need sanîty. Our consititutiœn does nôt allow insults. rémember our laws do not allow any one to insult the tather and mother. why should you evev coplain about arresting those insulting the natiœnal ater? are yôu also a beneficiary of insults to the president , advocate and lawyer of ßuch uncouth practices?

  3. We need sanîty. Our consititutiœn does nôt allow insults. Rémember our laws do not allow any one to insult his father and mother. Why should you evev complain about arresting those insulting the natiœnal fater? Are yôu also a beneficiary of insults to the president , advocate and lawyer of such uncouth practices?

  4. This is not Lungu whom every Jim and Jack wakes up and insults him. He has brought senity on social media. We need to respect the president. Lungu was weak. He received 100s of 1000s insults but was quiet. HH just issued a serious statement on press comference and the police are in action. I know you miss insulting the president like you did in Lungus time. But this has to come to a stop…… Already in your article you have insulted the president. You said presidents seems to come from same mother.. ZP will be after you. This is KK time. Respect and order

    • Yes this is not Lungu.
      Laws are not personalized unless in a dictatorship. Lungu or HH can’t have laws protecting them only. Every citizen must be similarly protected

  5. Insults are unpalatable and affects the insulted person one way or the other. I want to believe that this law is meant to protect this aspect. A president is only a human being who also has the basic human senses and feels the same bad effects of insults like you and me. Imagine yourselves get into insulting each other; is that the human rights we are promoting here? what kind of society do we want our Country to be? it would worry me if the UPND Government arrests critics or alternative voices, not those who break the law with intent. Never mind the frequency of arrests, as long as its lawful and protects us against this vice of insults, its ok for me. So far, There are tough and well respected critics of this Government that do it with civility; the likes of Dr. Fred Mmembe, Ms Saboi…

    • If your premise is correct why should only one man get this kind of protection in a country of 18 million? Has he been identified by our constitution as the most fragile in the country? Or perhaps he is just the most fussy?

  6. The President does not keep tabs on those insulting him who are being jailed. This should be the work of NGO to start looking at how the country can change laws to fit the new environment. The courts and Law associations should be in the forefront for law reforms. Do you want the president to announce officially that he has changed the law of insulting him? There is a process that should be followed and it’s up to the legislature working with various institutions to put in motion the tools needed to change the law. It is not only up to the president to change the law but all those involved!

  7. Lumbani madoda praise singers used to insult Lungu every day…never heard of anyone being Jailed….Praise Singers Lumbani Madoda voted for HH because he promised them no more debt from IMF but on the contrary Lumbani madoda praise singers are now rejoicing because HH and his closest minions will be Manchin on US$1.3……whilst keyboard warriors are spending their miserable lives on the computer….they won’t even see a penny of the U$1.3

  8. Maiko thanks for your accurate description and voice. We have been saying the same. You are a fearless man who says things as they are without fear or favour. You spoke out against pf when we were in power and didn’t something you didn’t agree with. Here you are doing the same out of principle unlike the f00Iish loyal upnd blind followers e.g. tarino and his fellow f00Is

  9. All part of the cleansing of zambia
    whose ………..

    Moral fiber and society was rotting and decayed from years of PF excess of corruption , stealing , swearing , lazeness and cader violence is being repaired………

    Pleas , speed up the repair and healing process………..

  10. I am not being tribal but I will say it…Kanganja being a Zambezian did all he did to tarnish the name of the president which in the end cost Lungu the presidency. Lungu was not cruel but weak. Hichilema didn’t mean what he was saying as opposition leader….. he’s a sadistic tormentor. Just wait for the rough ride to become rougher. Maiko you could be the next.

    • Deja vu

      Lungu conned all you with his Humble crap posture………..

      Lungu knew exactly what was going on………….

      He even announced he was going to arrest and jail HH had PF won the president elections………

      If you call arresting criminals, theifs and other law breakers ….sadistic , you are still the bitter election loser you were

  11. Look at the UK based Impostor/Fraud/Troll …15 months ago it was insulting and calling Maiko a dirty Rasta, Ganja smoker , UPND cadre this and that today its calling him fearless and thanking him…really laughable…its a small world indeed.

  12. I warned these guys like Maiko and Co, that immediately HH7 got in power they should have uppped the pressure on him and his MPs including PF MPs to get rid of some of these laws before he gets comfortable with them

    • I also did because I know all Zambian politicians go into State House for selfish goals not to improve our livelihoods. Why would someone attempt to go into State House five times? It’s just an ego cuddling ambition hidden in Mother Theresa’s attire

  13. My question is why do you like insulting others?
    Even in the Bible it’s written that insulting is a very big sin,
    So to avoid being jailed just stop the insults and those defamations it will never bring you food on your table, it will just bring you a setback in your life,
    There are so many things to do other than those foolish behaviors.
    Zambia is a Christian nation but that’s not Christianity.
    Learn to respect those in positions,
    How can one say we use to isult lungu but we were not jailed,
    It’s all that who are laughing that are happy, but some do laugh bcoz they are disappointed, Or
    It’s not all who are crying that that are disappointed, but some do cry bcoz they are happy
    So check this out

  14. Questions for Mr Zulu,
    Is it HH who jails them or the courts of law?
    Have you asked the Chief Justice Malila to explain why his courts are jailing people who insult the president?
    The law on defamation of the President exists in our Constitution. HH did not enact that law, he actually found it.
    In fact the correct heading for this article should be:
    “A Zambian is jailed every month by the Courts of law for insulting President”

    • Deja Vu – What we accused Lazy Lungu of is incompetence, rampant corruption and lack of leadership..the mistake these Zambian authors make is they do not look at the bigger picture, yes Kanganja was just following the law to the letter and this is the point…authors like Maiko should be lobbying the lawmakers amend the laws.

    • They are not his courts. You sucking authoritarian demagogues. That’s why you idolize people and make them think they are Gods. The courts can wrongly convict someone like they did the driver at Evelyn hone

  15. @Lusakatimes.
    Please, kindly caption the graphics.

    WHEN was it taken? Date.
    WHO is in the picture and who shot it? Cameraperson
    WHAT was the event? The occasion.
    WHERE were they shot? Venue.

  16. We always keep referring to what the statutes say about somethng, but laws must never be used for vengeful retribution, but fairness and compassion.
    Even when the president innocently doe’s not arrest any individual, the buck stops at the top ultimately.

    One past Zambian president happily said: “I didn’t know this seat is too sweet”.

  17. PEOPLE, please. do not blame the government or the police- IT IS THE LAW! What WE should ALL be doing is to lobby our members of Parliament, the Law Development Commission, the government etc. to CHANGE these r_i_d_c_u_l_o_u_s laws. Nelson Mandela broke the law when he was arrested, tried and sentenced to life in prison. The Sout African police were not wrong to arrest and charge him. They adduced evidence before the courts and he and others were found guilty and convicted. In fact, the prosecution wanted the death penalty, but the judge understood that the LAW was at fault and passed a life sentence instead. When our Presidents assent to laws with EYES CLOSED, this is the result. Dr Kaunda rode on these laws because in his words, ‘If it was good for the British, it will be good for us.’

    • Imwe ba Dokota Ngomalala laws are made by people. If people dont want the law it can be changed. If the law contradicts the constitution it can be changed. Chiluba refused to hang convicted murderers even when the law said they should be hanged. He was convinced it was wrong and those murderers have gotten away with it. The presidents we have do not have the will to repeal the law and dont attempt to validate their selfish refusal to repeal this law.

    • Mulibabufi sana bawishi. Where did Kaunda say what you are lying about him? Elyo ama theory old amaphilosophy yabupuba uko kwine. Go and tell a jew that the German police were just obeying the law in the genocide and see whether that will stop the Israelis’ pursuit of these killers. Mandela said he was prepared to die to fight illegal laws. He didn’t say because it’s legal I will obey apartheid. That’s what separates the men from the boys. Colonialism was fought by blacks who ignored the illegal colonisers’ laws. Otherwise you Dr Ngoma would still be working in some white man’s kitchen where you can safely pontificate as poorly as you have done. Every black man was not supposed to fight slavery because it was legal? What trivial and trashy thinking!

  18. Let them speed up these arrests………..

    Zambia had lost its moral fiber and bearings in the pit latrines of PF criminality…………

    Did you see the videos of PF caders insulting unpalatables on social media ???

    That was a example how hell filled with sinners is like……

  19. Maiko Zulu.Go to the chief Mpezeni and to the Litunga and chief Chitimukulu and then fly off to England and spew the very things you are protecting to the queen.Lets see if you. will come back in dreads.You will come back with polonium poisoning.
    Respect people in authority

  20. The issue I find with people like @Maiko and many bloggers who are pretending to fight for the Rule Of Law is that they SEEM to assume OR atleast give that impression, that HH is presiding over the Inspector General of Police, or is presiding over the courts, or presiding over ACC/DEC and giving them instructions to ARREST this and that person for DEFAMING him or for being a POLITICAL Opponent, etc.
    EVERYONE should KNOW that the old laws are still in existence UNTIL REPEALED. Everyone should abide to them. Therefore PRESSURE should be exerted to GET THE LAWS CHANGED, The Police, The courts, ACC/DEC are just doing their JOB, without even getting Instructions. Therefore it doesn’t MATTER how many people HAVE been arrested, what it shows is that…

  21. Cont`d
    Therefore it doesn’t MATTER how many people HAVE been arrested, what it shows is that there so many people BREAKING the laws, and the security wings and the courts are doing a great JOB. Many people here are making decisions based on EMOTIONS, the SEAN TEMBOS or LVSAMBO`s of this world are yearning for your sympathy.
    Push Jackie MWIIMBI, the respective Minister for Home Affairs, Haibo, Minister of Justice, also push your MPs , that where Pressure should be directed to ensure they start changing the archaic laws. DONT Direct every stu.pidity to HH, he is BUSY with other issues. AND IF HH, will give instructions to Police NOT to arrest those DEFAMING HIM, I will be the FIRST to protest, because he will be breaking the LAW.

  22. Spaka 4.3 Do you actually understand what you post.. even a deaf can hear you Upnd cadres giving instructions to arrest people and transport them crisscross the country. Oh no because this sweet music to your ears you don’t notice the agony these individuals are going through.

  23. Proverbs 29:2-3
    When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;
    But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.

  24. Abuse of freedom of speech!. Its like you got used to lawlessness thats why you are calling on human rights commission to yell “abuse”.

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