Former Zambian President Edgar Lungu has been banned by the police from jogging in public, as they consider it “political activism,” Lusaka Times reported.
Lungu’s weekly runs with members of the public and his party supporters have gained significant attention. The police have ordered him to seek approval for future jogging events, stating that failure to do so breaches the law and jeopardizes public safety. In a recent statement, Police spokesperson Rae Hamoonga said:
"The Zambia Police Service has noted with concern the unlawful assembly and political activism that was conducted by Patriotic Front cadres on Saturday, September 23, 2023, when the Former President Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu was conducting his morning jogging routine.
We would like to warn the Patriotic Front cadres that public gatherings or demonstrations, including political events, should be notified to the police as by law established. Failure to do so amounts to a breach of the law. This is to ensure public safety, traffic management, and to prevent disruptions to the daily lives of citizens."
However, Lungu’s lawyer Makebu Zulu has asserted that he will continue jogging without notifying the police and may take legal action if obstructed. He told BBC News:
"Mr Lungu has been jogging since time immemorial and his motivation has never been to contravene the law."
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This restriction on Lungu’s activities follows previous restrictive directives, including being blocked from travelling to South Korea for a conference. Despite announcing his retirement from politics after losing the 2021 election, Lungu has recently been reemerging in the public eye, leading to speculation that he plans to contest the presidency in 2026. Lungu allegedly aims to capitalise on public discontent over rising fuel and food prices in the upcoming elections.
President Hakainde Hichilema’s government has faced criticism for its perceived heavy-handed tactics, contrasting with his criticism of such actions during his time in opposition.