Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema has signed into law an Bill to end criminal defamation of the President.
Prior to this, people could be arrested, jailed or fined for defaming the President, amid outcry that the law was being abused to shield the President from criticism even when it is necessary.
He also signed a law to end death penalty.
Hichilema said during his campaigns for the Presidency, he promised to amend all laws that inhibit the growth of democracy and good governance, impede human rights and basic freedoms.
The President wrote;
Please be informed that this afternoon, we assented to the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill number 25 of 2022, abolishing the imposition of the death penalty in the Republic of Zambia, and the offence of Criminal Defamation of the President.
The Penal Code Act Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia by the President’s assent have been ammended to repeal all provisions of the Penal Code Act which provided for the imposition of mandatory death sentence in the absence of extenuating circumstances.
Similarly, by the President’s assent, the provisions of Section 69 of Penal Code Act Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia which provide for the offence of Criminal Defamation of the President have since been repealed.
Fellow Zambians, during our campaigns for the Presidency, we promised to amend all laws that inhibit the growth of democracy and good governance, impede human rights and basic freedoms. Today we have delivered.
President of the Republic of Zambia.