By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Authorities in Zambia have announced the immediate withdrawal of all retirement benefits and privileges due to former President Edgar Lungu, arising from his decision to return to active politics.
Mr Lungu had announced his retirement in 2021 after he lost presidency to Hakainde Hichilema.
He spent six years in office, a period within which he left the country facing serious economic issues as Africa’s most indebted nation.
He has however indicated interest to return to active politics ahead of the 2026 presidential race.
The former president has already been notified about the immediate withdrawal of his retirement benefits and privileges, according to government spokesman Cornelius Mweetwa.
He said it was clearly stated in the law that former presidents who returned to politics would lose their benefits.
As a retired president, Mr Lungu was 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.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Mr Mweetwa said the former leader would now be treated with “equality of the law”, just like any other senior citizen of the country.
Mr Lungu is seeking to capitalise on growing dissatisfaction of the people over the continued economic hardships to re-launch to political relevance in 2026.
He also pledged to save his factionalised ex-ruling Patriotic Front party from collapse. The government has threatened to de-register the party over leadership wrangles.
The government spokesman denied Mr Lungu’s recent statement that supporters of the ruling United Party for National Development (UPND) were targeting him.
He described Mr Lungu’s remarks that his life had been threatened as a “mere false alarm”, saying the former leader was as secure “as any other citizen”.
Mr Lungu was, however, warned against confrontational politics against President Hichilema’s government.
Last month, Mr Lungu was warned against jogging in public, with police describing his weekly workouts as “political activism”.