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Zambia police arrest critic of president

Former information minister has been charged with fraud and corruption

Zambia police arrest critic of president Chishimba Kambwili, former information minister of Zambia

By Francis Maingaila

LUSAKA, Zambia

Police arrested a former information minister, who is also the leader of a breakaway political party from the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), on charges of fraud and corruption on Tuesday.

Lusaka Province Police Commissioner Nelson Phiri told journalists Chishimba Kambwili had been summoned to appear before investigators to answer the charges that allegedly took place during his tenure as information minister.

According to Phiri, Kambwili was warned and a caution statement was recorded against him on Tuesday afternoon.

He was later released.

"Kambwili has been released after fulfilling conditions of a police bond and will appear in court soon.”

In July 2017, PF Secretary General Davis Mwila said Kambwili had been expelled after criticizing the decision of the party to have Lungu as a sole candidate for the 2021 presidential election.

In November 2016, Kambwili was fired after Lungu accused him of corruption-related activities.

Some commentators, however, criticized the arrest of Kambwili, saying it was the work of the president and the ruling party to get rid of critics ahead of the 2021 presidential election.

“We expect to see more of such arrest targeting opposition leaders to take place as the clock continues to tick towards 2021 election,” Alex Ngoma, a political scientist from the University of Zambia, told the media on Tuesday afternoon.

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