Zambia’s president vows to remove insult law

Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema has told the BBC he will push for the scrapping of a controversial law that criminalises insulting the president.

It follows an outcry from rights groups who say about a dozen people, including opposition activists, have been arrested and charged for breaking the law during President Hichilema’s first year in office.

Mr Hichilema pledged a break from the past when he took office last year. His successes included halving inflation, receiving a billion-dollar IMF bailout and introducing lower taxes and free education.

But critics say despite an election promise to do so, the government has been slow to abolish the colonial-era insult law often used to silence critics.

Mr Hichilema told the BBC that the law will be repealed, but until that time, it would continue to apply.

“There’s a law there. The first thing amongst the key things we said we would do, is restore the rule of law.

“That law is one of those that we’ve isolated that has to be reformed and is going through due process. Before it is reformed, it is a law and it will apply,” he said.

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