This decision was a direct result of Lungu’s choice to re-enter the political arena after his loss to Hakainde Hichilema in the 2021 presidential elections, a declaration that contradicted his initial retirement announcement.
Lungu’s return to the political landscape has set the stage for a robust contest in the 2026 presidential race, creating a heightened political atmosphere in Zambia.
However, this decision has now led to the withdrawal of the retirement benefits and privileges that he was entitled to as a retired president.
Government spokesman Cornelius Mweetwa noted that it is explicitly stated in the law that former presidents who re-enter politics would forfeit their benefits.
This removal encompasses various privileges such as security personnel, a diplomatic passport, state vehicles, a furnished residence, medical insurance, funeral expenses, and immunity from prosecution.
In a press conference held on Wednesday, Mweetwa emphasized the equality of the law, emphasizing that Lungu would now be treated similarly to any other senior citizen in the country.
Edgar Lungu returns to ‘defend’ democracy
Regarding Lungu’s political return and its underlying motivation, the former president cited a commitment to defending democracy in the nation and expressed his desire to salvage the Patriotic Front party from internal conflicts that threaten its existence.
However, the government has warned Edgar Lungu against confrontational politics and denied the ex-leader’s claims of being targeted by ruling party supporters.
The government indicated that Lungu’s security is no different from any other citizen’s.
The status of Lungu’s immunity from prosecution remains uncertain, with a past precedent of Zambia’s parliament revoking immunity for two former presidents, Frederick Chiluba in 2002 and Rupiah Banda in 2013.
The ruling party members have pushed for the removal of his immunity, citing alleged corruption during his tenure, an accusation that Lungu dismissed as politically motivated.
The situation has intensified as the country grapples with growing economic challenges and concerns over shrinking human rights freedoms, further underlining the complex political dynamics Lungu’s return has introduced in Zambia.