The Zambian government withdrew retirement benefits and privileges from former President Edgar Lungu after his decision to return to active politics, according to BBC.
The former leader was notified about the immediate withdrawal of his retirement benefits and privileges, according to government spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa.
In 2021, Lungu retired from the political arena after a resounding loss in a presidential election. Having served for six years, his tenure left the nation with substantial debt and a fragile economy.
His retirement also led to the leadership wrangle within the Patriotic Front ( PF) party, which ended up in court.
Lungu’s Saturday jogs with members of the public and PF supporters was also attracting attention, and subsequently the former leader of the ruling party was told to seek police approval for future jogging events.
Lungu’s choice to re-enter the political arena has laid the groundwork for a potential clash in the upcoming 2026 presidential race. The law says that when former presidents go back into politics, they have to give up their retirement benefits – a regulation that Lungu is now bound by, reports BNN Network.
As a retired president, he was reportedly entitled to three security officers, a diplomatic passport, three state cars, a furnished house, medical insurance and funeral expenses on his death. He also enjoyed immunity from prosecution.
Upon re-entering politics, Lungu will reportedly be treated like any other senior citizen of the country, divested of the privileges associated with his prior status. Despite Lungu’s claims of being singled out for victimization and concerns about threats to his safety, the government asserts that he is entitled to the same level of security as any other citizen.
Lungu’s return to the political scene coincides with a rising wave of public dissatisfaction regarding the persistent economic challenges under his successor.
Meanwhile, civil society organizations voiced apprehensions about diminishing human rights liberties. Lungu committed to addressing these concerns, pledging to champion democracy and avert the fragmentation of his former ruling party, the Patriotic Front. Nevertheless, the government brushed aside his claims of life-threatening risks and selective victimization of his supporters, according to BNN Network.
Lungu also committed to rescuing his divided former ruling Patriotic Front party from disintegration, even as the government has issued warnings about potentially deregistering the party due to leadership conflicts.