Zambia’s newly-elected President, Hakainde Hichilema has appointed new military chiefs as well as police commissioners.
In a televised address to the nation, Hichilema on Sunday announced that he is relieving all commissioners of police with immediate effect without providing reasons for the replacements.
He also urged police to conduct thorough checks before detaining any suspects, stressing that no one should be arrested before investigations are concluded.
Human rights groups had accused the former President, Edgar Lungu of leading a “brutal crackdown” on dissent, with police violence claiming at least five lives since he was officially elected in 2016.
Before he took office last week, Hichilema himself had been arrested over a dozen times during his political career and made restoring freedoms a focus of his electoral promises.
During his inauguration speech, he promised to crack down on political “thuggery” and repression, reassuring independent media they would no longer face tear gas or shutdowns.
Hichilema beat his long-term rival Lungu in August 12 polls by a landslide of almost one million votes, a victory hailed as a democratic milestone for opposition movements in Africa.
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