Freedom in the World
Zambia received a downward trend arrow due to political violence against the opposition and civil society groups, as well as the judiciary’s failure to demonstrate substantial independence in key decisions throughout the year.
Anticorruption efforts facedsetbacks in 2010, as the government continued to protect former president Frederick Chiluba from legal action related to corruption charges. Several judicial decisions during the year, especially those concerning Chiluba, raised concerns that the executive branch was exercising undue influence over the judiciary. Meanwhile, a climate of violence increasingly pervaded political life, as opposition members and civil society activists were harassed by police and attacked by individuals associated with Zambia’s ruling party.
Zambia is an electoral democracy. While local and international observers declared the 2008 presidential elections to be free and fair, opposition parties and civil society groups raised concerns about fraud, including the printing of additional ballot papers and the incumbent’s use of state resources for campaigning. The president and the unicameral National Assembly are elected to serve concurrent five-year terms. The National Assembly includes 150 elected members, as well as 8 members appointed by the president. Although the recent by-elections were marred by violence and intimidation, the opposition has been able to prevail in a number of contests.