Editor's Note

A money-making immigration scheme?

We have just been advised by our children’s school that all non-Zambian children in Zambia above the age of 7 must hold a Study Permit. As the law-abiding resident I am, I immediately went to the Immigration Department’s website to take a closer look at the relevant form. Here, the applicant, that is my 7-year-old girl and 8-year-old boy, will have to answer questions such as “Will you be living at the educational institution?” and “If the answer is “No”, where will you be living?”… “err, with my mum and dad?”. Further down, my children will answer “How will your tuition, accommodation and boarding expenses be met? (provide documentary evidence)”… “err, by my mum and dad?” Then we get to the serious part: “Have you ever applied for a permit under the Immigration and Deportation Act, 2010 or the Immigration and Deportation Act, Cap. 123?”, “Have you ever been restricted from entering any country or deported or repatriated from any country?” and “Have you been convicted of an offence under any law within or outside Zambia?” Finally, my children have to sign a declaration: “I hereby declare that the information furnished by me in this application is true, correct and complete to the best of my knowledge. I understand that any incorrect, misleading or untrue information or the withholding of any relevant information may affect the issuance of a study permit or shall result in the revocation of the permit”. Note that the form has no provision for being filled in – or signed – by a guardian, but I guess my children can simply print their names, that is, if they manage to spell their way through the form. Clearly, the Study Permit was never meant to apply to children as young as 7 years, but to older students from abroad studying in Zambia on more independent terms. I am confused, because does this mean the legal age for a child in Zambia is 7 years?

Camilla Hebo Buus, Editor Zambia Weekly

This week’s discourse

Chief Government Spokesman Chishimba Kambwili in a badly veiled reference to Southern Province only voting for UPND’s Hakainde Hichilema (ZNBC READ MORE...
  • development
  • zambia-in-the-world

Is aid a smokescreen?

A group of 13 NGOs has accused western countries of using aid to Africa as a smokescreen to hide “sustained READ MORE...
  • environment
  • zambia-in-the-world

The true size of Africa

Africa is much bigger than you think. In fact, it is larger than the USA, China, India, Japan and all READ MORE...
  • government

Lungu develops potbelly?

Online commentators discussed President Lungu’s growing girth this week, arguing that he has been enjoying life during his 12 months READ MORE...
  • justice
  • agriculture
  • environment

Fishermen jailed in Zimbabwe

Eight Zambian fishermen have been sentence to two years imprisonment in Zimbabwe for fishing illegally on the Zimbabwean side of READ MORE...
  • agriculture

Fish levy reversed

Government has reversed Statutory Instrument (SI) 41 of 2015, which increased the fish levy from K102 to K1,800, after numerous READ MORE...
  • communication

Where to go online?

The Internet is seeing a surge in websites dedicated to Zambia. Zambia Weekly has compiled an overview of some of READ MORE...
  • justice
  • living

Lungu drops Kanene as GBV envoy

President Lungu has dropped Clifford Dimba, aka General Kanene, as an ambassador in the fight against defilement, finally responding to READ MORE...
  • communication

HH plays the international media

Opposition UPND party president Hakainde Hichilema (HH) is busy giving interviews to the international media. This week, he was interviewed READ MORE...
  • politics

Kaingu joins PF

Opposition MMD Mwandi MP and Higher Education Minister Michael Kaingu has joined the ruling PF party. Kaingu intends to contest READ MORE...

This Week’s Exchange

Nic Cheeseman, professor of democracy and international development, Birmingham University, UK, stated:

“Until now, Zambia’s progress under multi-party politics has been quietly impressive. Over the last year, though, things have changed. (…) According to the Conference of Catholic Bishops – one of the most influential bodies in the country – Zambia doesn’t deserve to be called a democracy (…) it has become a dictatorship – or getting there. Many Catholic leaders were seen to be sympathetic to the PF, when it won power under Michael Sata in 2011, so what has changed? This is not the first time that a Zambian president has sought to consolidate his authority by manipulating state institutions. Nor is it the first time that opposition leaders have been arrested, or civil society groups intimidated. In the recent past, these moments of high political tension have often been resolved peacefully, (…) but it’s unlikely that Lungu will cede his quest to remain in office. First, key civil society groups such as the trade unions have been weakened by privatisation, informalisation and unemployment. Second, the Constitutional Court, that’s responsible for interpreting the constitution, was handpicked by Lungu. Third, Lungu’s case is more complicated than Chiluba’s. In 2001, the second president had served two full terms in office and wanted one more. Today, Lungu is arguing that he should be allowed to have a third term because his first period in office did not count, as he was just serving out the final year of Sata’s term. All of this means that Lungu is likely to get his way. (…) Opposition protests are inevitable, as is some civil society criticism. If past form is anything to go by, Lungu’s government will respond with threats and intimidation.”

Ruling PF party deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri reacted:

Cheeseman is nothing but an attention-seeking professor, who thinks he can lecture us about democracy. The people of Zambia spoke through the vote, and their wishes must be respected by all, including Cheeseman. Cheeseman creates the impression that there was a letter authored by all Catholic bishops, which labelled Zambia as a dictatorship. For the record, that was an opinion expressed by the archbishop. (…) It is irresponsible for Cheeseman to compare ours with late President Frederick Chiluba’s third-term bid. The view that the current constitution allows President Lungu to seek re-election (…) is before the courts of law. (…) the PF will respect the outcome of the court system. President Lungu’s good governance record remains solid. It was President Lungu’s administration that took the referendum on the proposed Bill of Rights to the people. (…) it was UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema who campaigned against it. It is President Lungu’s administration, which allowed for the 50%+1 clause in the constitution, the running mate clause, and reduction of presidential powers. President Lungu believes in an independent judiciary. (…) Today, Zambia has a Constitutional Court, something that was unheard of in the history of our nation. While the opposition petitioned the Constitutional Court, President Lungu remained calm until the matter expired. We wish to correct the view that human rights of politicians in trouble with the law are being violated. Citizens, who are also politicians, and on trial, have appeared in court within a week of being charged, and (…) for continued trial. The due process of the law is clearly being followed to the letter. Professor Cheeseman‘s daydream, that Zambia is falling from grace because of HH’s arrest, is a lie. Zambia remains a shining example of democracy not only on the African continent but world over.”