8 Jun 2015

Zambian musician Chama 'Pilato' Fumba arrested for mocking President

A Zambian musician was arrested on Monday over a song he composed that officials said defamed President Edgar Lungu by accusing him of drinking too much and being incompetent.

Chama Fumba, 31, whose stage name is Pilato, was detained in Lusaka and charged with conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace, his lawyer told reporters at the capital’s central police station.

“The police declined to grant us bail and we requested to them that in that case the matter should quickly proceed to court,” Marshall Muchende said.

Fumba faces a maximum sentence of six months in prison or a fine if found guilty.

The song’s lyrics tell the story of a character named Lungu who grows up in a slum and becomes president.

The Lungu in the song is described as carrying a suitcase filled with bottles of Jameson Irish whiskey and having no idea how to govern.

President Lungu, 58, who took office in January, is a former defence minister.

He suffers from recurring achalasia, a condition caused by narrowing of the oesophagus, and has been regularly hospitalised for treatment.

His election victory followed the death of predecessor Michael Sata.

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