Zambia. In February, Minister of Housing and
Infrastructure Ronald Chitotela was arrested by the
country's anti-corruption unit. According to
CountryAAH, Chitotela was charged with
concealing possession of two properties he suspected of
having acquired illegally. Later, more charges were filed
against Chitotela. Another former minister was indicted
during the year, namely Emerine Kabanshi, Minister of Social
Affairs until September 2018. She was suspected of
involvement in embezzlement of aid money and charged with
abuse of power.
In February, Hakainde Hichilema, leader of the largest
opposition party United National Development Party (UPND),
was subjected to a murder trial. This according to
information from party representatives, who a week later
said they would report President Edgar Lungo and some of his
closest associates to the International Criminal Court (ICC)
for being responsible for violence against the opposition.
According to UPND, police in connection with a political
meeting had shot at Hichilema, who had to take refuge in the
bush so as not to be killed. The police denied being shot
The new government restructured the economy, privatized
state-owned enterprises and doubled the price of cornmeal
and other basic foods. In December 1992, the government
accepted the recommendations of the IMF and the World Bank;
it devalued the country's currency by 29%, released the
foreign exchange market and deregulated foreign trade. In
early 1992, southern Africa experienced the worst drought of
the 20th century and was plagued by food shortages.
A meeting of Western countries with the World Bank as
host provided 400 million food aid to Zambia. In July, the
Paris Club decided to restructure Zambia's debt. The deal
allowed the country to reschedule $ 920 million out of the
2,300 it owes to club members.
President Chiluba turned Christianity into official
religion and banned the formation of a fundamentalist party.
The Islamic religious authorities estimated that there were
1.2 million Shiites and 1 million Sunni Muslims in the
In March 1993, the country was put in an emergency in an
attempt to avert a popular plot for civil disobedience.
Several UNIP members who knew about the existence of the
plot were jailed, and the state of emergency was lifted at
the end of the month.
Inflation reached 140% in 1993. The government had to
reduce public spending, encourage the privatization of
businesses and fight drug trafficking to obtain the
necessary support from the Paris Club in 1994.
The University of Zambia was closed in April 1994, when
300 scientists and teachers were fired for demanding salary
increases. The savings in the education sector triggered
constant strikes among teachers.
The accusations of corruption and the lack of
agricultural policy in 1995 prompted the president to ask
for the departure of the Minister of Agriculture and to ask
the other ministers for statements of their income. Shortly
thereafter, Chiluba removed the director of the country's
national bank for suddenly devaluing the country's currency,
kwacha by more than 20%. Chiluba was blamed for the
country's foreign debt crisis, whose interest and repayments
swallowed 40% of the gross domestic product. The Minister of
Commerce admitted in July that 5.5 of the 9.5 Zambians lived
in extreme poverty.
In March 1996, the Paris Club left Zambia 67% of its
debt. The IMF and the World Bank's structural adjustment
program, implemented in 1997, brought greater poverty among
the rural population, and the privatization of state-owned
enterprises cost at least 150,000 workers their jobs.
A month after a failed coup attempt (November 1997),
dozens of people were arrested for possible contacts with
the rebel officers. Among those arrested were former
President Kaunda, who, after a change in the constitution,
was prevented from running for president. Representatives of
the opposition and human rights organizations stated that
the failed coup attempt became a pretext for carrying out
detention and torture of prisoners. The government
introduced a state of emergency which was to last for 3
months but was extended until March 1998. In June 98 Kaunda
was released from his house arrest and the charges against
him were waived. In turn, the former president resigned as
chairman of his party, UNIP.