A 15-Year-Old Zambian boy has been arrested for allegedly defaming President Edgar Lungu in a Facebook post.
The teen, who cannot be named because he is a minor, is from the small town of Kapiri Mposhi. He was arrested on Monday and charged with three counts of libel.
The local Guardian newspaper quoted police spokeswoman, Esther Katongo as confirming the arrest in a statement.
Katongo said the teen was suspected to have created a Facebook page using the name ‘Zoom’ in which he published defamatory statements against Lungu.
According to the Guardian, one of the posts read: ‘Which other name can you name a dog apart from Edgar Lungu?’
‘We are better off as a country without Edgar Lungu,’ another allegedly stated.
If convicted, the teenager could face up to five years in prison.
Lungu, who has been in office since 2015, has faced accusations of cracking down on opponents in order to consolidate more power ahead of next year’s elections, the Guardian said.
An opinion column in South Africa’s Mail & Guardian accused Lungu of intimidating opposition parties and muting criticism of his political and economic failures, while also plotting to amend the country’s Constitution in an attempt to gain more power.
However, in a national address in Zambia’s parliament earlier this month, Lungu called for unity, a common refrain in his public speeches.
‘Although we are many, we are one! So let us learn to talk to each other,’ he said.
‘We are not enemies. We are opponents in search of what is best for a country we love. In noble politics, Zambia comes first!’