Just in: Presidency sacks all military chiefs
Zambia’s newly-elected President Hakainde Hichilema on Sunday, August 29, appointed new military chiefs and replaced all police commissioners after promising to end the previous regime’s heavy-handedness.
This online news platform understands that right groups accused President Hichilema’s predecessor Edgar Lungu of leading a “brutal crackdown” on dissent, with police violence claiming at least five lives since he was officially elected in 2016.
President Hichilema, who took office last week, has been arrested over a dozen times during his political career and made restoring freedoms a linchpin of his electoral promises.
Newly elected Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema (C-R) inspects the guard of honour during his inauguration at the Heroes Stadium in Lusaka on August 24, 2021.
In a televised address to the nation on Sunday, the president announced the appointment of the new army and airforce chiefs, as well as a new head of the southern African country’s defence wing.
“I am relieving all commissioners of police with immediate effect,” he added, without providing reasons for the replacements.
He also urged police to conduct thorough checks before detaining suspects, stressing that “no one should be arrested before investigations are concluded”.
The newly elected President beat his long-term rival Lungu in August 12 polls by a landslide of almost one million votes — a victory hailed as a democratic milestone for opposition movements in Africa.
The President promised to crack down on political “thuggery” and repression, reassuring independent media they would no longer face tear gas or shutdowns during his inauguration speech on Tuesday.