Note to editors:

The Africa Liberal Network is Africa’s largest political affiliation, consisting of 45 member parties from over 25 countries. The following statement and remarks are provided by the newly-elected ALN President, Stevens Mokgalapa MP, the South African Shadow Minister for International Relations and Co-operation (Democratic Alliance).

The Africa Liberal Network condemns in the strongest possible terms, the approval by the Zambian government to extend the state of emergency in the country by a further 90 days. This comes short on the heels of the arrest of leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND), a full member of the ALN and Zambia’s largest opposition party, Mr Hakainde Hichilema, on charges of treason. The extended security measures decreed by President Edgar Lungu is nothing short of an attempt to stifle opposition to his government and cement his grip on power. The additional three-month period will place unlimited power in the President and security forces’ hands, which may be used to intimidate and threaten opposition parties and citizens alike. These measures include the prohibition of public meetings, the closure of roads, imposed curfews and restricted movements, all to be enforced by security forces.

Zambia, once a stellar example of a democracy in Africa, has recently been on a decline due to reports of human rights abuses as well as the erosion of political freedom. During the August 2016 elections, the governing party, the Patriotic Front (PF), was involved in the manipulation of votes and unlawful arrests of and violence against UPND members have been commonplace. This state of emergency sees the extension of such abuses of power by President Lungu and the PF.

The ALN lends full support to its sister-party in Zambia and calls for regional bodies such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African Union (AU) to break their silence in light of the above events. As President of Africa’s largest political affiliation, I implore representatives and our member parties to uphold liberal values in securing the safety and freedom of all Zambians. The Democratic Alliance, ALN full-member in South Africa, has shown solidarity with the party leader, Mmusi Maimane MP, attempting a visit to Zambia, where he was unlawfully denied entry by border police. Furthermore, I have escalated this matter to our colleagues at Liberal International and their Human Rights Committee.

The ALN will continue to work tirelessly for the promotion of liberal values on the continent in order to achieve a better future for all Africans, based on the rule of law, freedom of expression and the entrenchment of human rights.

Media enquiries:

Zanie Ferreira (ALN Coordinator)

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