CiSCA CONDEMNS CABINET OFFICE’S RESTRICTIONS OF FORMER PRESIDENT LUNGU’S TRAVELS
Lusaka, 19 September, 2023
The Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) condemns the cancellation by Cabinet Office of former President Edgar Lungu’s travel to South Africa and South Korea.
In a letter dated September 7, 2023, Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet Dr Oliver Kalabo stated that the former President’s request to travel to South Africa had been turned down. No reasons for the refusal were given. The letter was in response to a letter written to Cabinet Office on 16th of August, 2023 by the office of the Sixth Republican President, indicating that the former President was invited as guest speaker together with other former Presidents in the region to a World Peace Conference to be held in Seoul. That trip was also cancelled and he was ejected from the plane after he had already boarded.
As a human rights promoting movement which advocates for and promotes the rights and freedoms of all citizens, CiSCA would like to remind the government on the provisions of Article 11(b) of the Constitution on the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms which provides to the effect that, “It is recognized and declared that every person in Zambia has and shall continue to be entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed, sex or marital status, but subject to the limitations contained in this Part, to each and all of the following, namely:”…(b) freedom of conscience, expression, assembly, movement and association;…”.
In seeking to travel outside the country, former President Lungu was simply trying to exercise his right to movement which is provided for under freedom of movement as enshrined in Article 22 which guarantees the Protection of Freedom of Movement. Article 22(c) is very clear and states that everyone has “the right to leave Zambia and to return to Zambia”. This right, as we can see was denied the former President.
Therefore, the statement from the Chief Government Spokesperson, Hon. Chushi Kasanda that former president Edgar Lungu was stopped from travelling to South Korea because he did not seek clearance from the Cabinet Office is a clear violation of his constitutional rights.
The decision by the government to restrict the former Head of State from travelling to South Korea without justifiable reasons is unconstitutional and unacceptable.
It is also a clear contradiction to the trip to South Africa, where there was a letter written for clearance and that was rejected without any reasons being given.
To the extent that the medical review is not time bound and the World Peace Conference is only slated for tomorrow, 20th September 2023, CiSCA demands that former President Lungu be immediately allowed to exercise his constitutional rights and travel to South Africa to seek medical attention and to South Korea to speak at the World Peace Conference in Seoul.
Acting CiSCA Chairperson