The arrest and incarceration of Zambian opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema in April on treason charges is an example of costly regional democratic drift. He remains in detention without trial as the government, knowing it has no evidence, fears losing face, or worse, by releasing him. Now, President Edgar Lungu has taken a next step in increasing his powers. In a televised national address on 5 July, Lungu said that “I have issued a statutory instrument proclaiming that a situation exists in this country which if allowed to continue may lead to a state of public emergency.” According to the president the state of emergency he has invoked is “only for seven days”, though he added that “Parliament will within the next seven days determine whether it will be there for one week, one month, three months or six months.” This should not be a problem given the parliamentary suspension of opposition lawmakers from the United Party for National Development (UPND).   The immediate justificat...

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