Security heightened ahead of Zambian President inaugural ceremony

Security has been tightened ahead of the inauguration of Zambia's President-elect Edgar Lungu, the police said on Monday.

Zambian President Edgar Lungu
Zambian President Edgar Lungu

Lungu, who was declared winner of last month’s general elections, will be inaugurated on Tuesday after the country’s Constitutional Court threw away a petition by the opposition that was challenging his re-election while another court threw away an application to halt his inauguration.

Kakoma Kanganja, the Inspector-General of the Zambia Police, said the police have tightened security measures for the ceremony to ensure that peace prevails, adding that any attempts to go against the measures would be sternly dealt with.

The police chief said no offensive stuff such as bottles or bags will be allowed in the National Heroes Stadium, the venue of the inauguration in Lusaka, the country’s capital, while access to the venue will be on a first come, first served basis.

“In view of the high profile nature of this event those intending to attend are advised to be at the stadium early for security clearance and other formalities. At all times those in attendance are advised to remain calm as adequate security measures have been put in place,” he said in a statement seen by Xinhua on Monday.

The country’s road safety agency said in a separate statement that it has deployed adequate traffic officers across the country to ensure the safety of all road users on Tuesday.

The agency said officers will be on high alert to conduct traffic management and enforcement operations to ensure that the ceremony was free of any road accidents.

The government has since declared Tuesday a public holiday in order to allow people to follow the inauguration ceremony which will also be beamed live on big screens across provincial capitals in the country.

Four African leaders will attend the event, among them Ian Khama of Botswana, John Magufuli of Tanzania, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe.

The tightly-contested August 11 polls have been disputed by the country’s leading opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema, who said he does not recognize Lungu’s victory.

The opposition claimed last week that 300,000 votes were stolen from him.

Lungu has led Zambia since January 2015 when he won an election called following the death of former President Michael Sata in 2014. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/News Ghana

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