Global academic support for Sishuwa against charges of sedition soars

Global academic support for Sishuwa against charges of sedition soars
Global academic support for Sishuwa against charges of sedition soars

Africa-PressZambia. We, the undersigned, as prominent academics across Zambia, Africa and the wider world, are deeply alarmed at credible reports that the University of Zambia (UNZA) historian, Dr Sishuwa Sishuwa, is to be charged with sedition, as the result of an opinion piece he published in the Mail and Guardian (South Africa), on 22 March 2021.

As historians and social scientists who have studied and published in and about Zambia for many decades, we are extremely concerned that the threat of sedition charges is being used to silence the legitimate expression of belief by one of the country’s most prominent early-career scholars. Dr Sishuwa, who has published outstanding and prize-winning research articles in the world’s most prominent African studies journals, is drawing on his research expertise to bring to public attention his concerns about the current direction of Zambian political life. Far from inciting popular rebellion (as the term ‘sedition’ implies), he seeks to address the underlying causes of societal tension as a way to reduce it. We believe it is both his right and his patriotic duty to bring such concerns into the public eye. Article 20 of the Constitution of Zambia guarantees Dr Sishuwa and all other Zambians freedom of expression, that is to say freedom to hold opinions, receive ideas and impart or communicate ideas and information without interference.

As citizens and longstanding friends of Zambia, who have documented the country’s prominent historical role in the political liberation of southern Africa, and its pioneering role in constitutional democratisation, we are worried about the proposed use of an authoritarian tool such as the charge of sedition, and call for any consideration of such charges to be immediately and permanently dropped.

We are further alarmed at the issuance by the University of Zambia of a statement dated 27 April 2021, disassociating the university from its employee Dr Sishuwa. This misleading statement suggests Dr Sishuwa is not currently employed by the university, when in fact he is, as is normal for academic researchers, simply on temporary research leave from it. Indeed, as recently as December last year, UNZA publicly celebrated the achievements of Dr Sishuwa.

All of us have worked at or with colleagues from UNZA, long a prominent university that has, since independence, been a centre of intellectual freedom, often in difficult circumstances. We wholly reject the allegation that Dr Sishuwa is pursuing a ‘personal agenda’ and call on the university to guarantee Dr Sishuwa’s continued employment and his right to academic freedom.


Professor Rita Abrahamsen, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa

Dr Michael Aeby, Research Associate, IDCCPA University of Cape Town & University of Edinburgh

The African Studies Association of Africa

Professor Akosua Adomako Ampofo, University of Ghana, and President of the African Studies Association of Africa

Professor David M. Anderson, Professor of African History, University of Warwick

Professor Kate Baldwin, Associate Professor of Political Science, Yale University

Professor Robert Bates, Eaton Professor Emeritus of the Science of Government, Harvard University

Dr Nicole Beardsworth, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Pretoria

Sarah Bellows-Blakely, Research Fellow in Global Intellectual History, Freie Universität Berlin

Dr Eloïse Bertrand, Research Fellow, University of Portsmouth

Dr Chaloka Beyani, Professor of International Law, Law Department, London School of Economics and Political Science.

Professor Catherine Boone, Department of International Development, London School of Economics and Political Science

Professor Michael Bratton, Emeritus Professor of Government, Michigan State University

Caesar Cheelo, Research Economist – Trade and Customs Division, COMESA Secretariat

Professor Nic Cheeseman, Professor of Democracy, University of Birmingham

Dr Grieve Chelwa, Postdoctoral Fellow, The New School

Geoffrey Chibuye, Independent

Professor Simukai Chigudu, Associate Professor of African Politics, University of Oxford

Dr Isaac Chinyoka, Centre for Social Science Research, University of Cape Town

Roy Clarke, former lecturer in Education at the University of Zambia, 1979-89, political satirist at the Post Newspaper 1996-2009

Dr Michaela Collord, Junior Research Fellow, New College, University of Oxford

Leila Demarest, Assistant Professor of African Politics, Institute of Political Science, Leiden University

Dr Kim Yi Dionne, Associate Professor of Political Science, UC Riverside

Professor Gregor Dobler, Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

Professor Lindiwe Dovey, Professor of Film and Screen Studies, School of Arts, SOAS University of London

Dr Boniface Dulani, Senior Lecturer in Political Science, University of Malawi

Dr Jonathan Fisher, Reader in African Politics, University of Birmingham

Dr Alastair Fraser, Department of Politics and International Studies, SOAS, University of London

Dr Elena Gadjanova, Lecturer in Politics, University of Exeter

Courtney Hallink, PhD student, University of Cambridge

Professor Antoinette Handley, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto

Dr Anne Heffernan, Assistant Professor in Southern African History, Durham University

Sacha Hepburn, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Birkbeck, University of London

Professor Samuel Hickey, Professor of Politics and Development, University of Manchester

Marja Hinfelaar, Director of Research and Programmes, Southern African Institute for Policy and Research

Professor Alan Hirsch, Emeritus Professor of Public Governance, University of Cape Town

Dr Dan Hodgkinson, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, University of Oxford

Professor Kristine Höglund, Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University.

Dr Chris Huggins, Assistant Professor, School of International Development and Global Studies, University of Ottawa

Professor Faizel Ismail, Professor of Public Governance, University of Cape Town

Zenobia Ismail, Research Fellow, Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham

Samson Itodo, Yiaga Africa

Professor Hambaba Jimaima, Department of Literature and Languages, University of Zambia

Diana Jeater, Associate Dean, Department of History, University of Liverpool

Dr Will Jones, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, Department of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy, Royal Holloway, University of London

Dr Walima Kalusa, Senior Lecturer in African History, University of eSwatini, and former Head of the Department of History, University of Zambia

Lillian Kamusiime, Independent

Victor Kanyense, Indeepndent Social Scientist & Development Specialist

Professor Chammah J. Kaunda, Assistant Professor of World Christianity and Mission Studies, Yonsei University

Kalaluka Kapungu, Citizen of Zambia

Stephen Kamugasa, Independent Researcher

Rita Kesselring, Senior Lecturer at the Institute for Social Anthropology, University of Basel

Aikande C. Kwayu, Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Stephanie Lämmert, Researcher, Max Planck Institute for Human Development

Professor Miles Larmer, Professor of African History, University of Oxford

Professor Baz Lecocq, Chair African History, Institute for Asian and African Studies, Humboldt University of Berlin

Professor Staffan I. Lindberg, Director, V-Dem Institute, of Political Science, University of Gothenburg

Sworo Nelson Henry Lo’boka, Africa Call, South Sudan

Dr Terrence Lyons, Associate Professor, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, George Mason University

Professor Adrienne LeBas, Associate Professor of Government, American University

Dr Reuben A. Loffman, Lecturer in African History, Queen Mary University of London

Professor Gabrielle Lynch, Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick.

Dr Ainara Mancebo, Research Scholar, Ronin Institute

Hugh Macmillan, Research Fellow, University of Oxford

Kuukuwa Manful, PhD Researcher, SOAS, University of London

Professor Robert Mattes, Professor of Political Science, University of Strathclyde

Monte McMurchy, Rector American Christian Liberal Arts University Congo—UCI

Professor Henning Melber, Nordic Africa Institute; University of Pretoria; University of the Free State

Kelvin Mambwe, University of Zambia Lecturers and Researchers’ Union

Robert Molteno, formerly Lecturer in Political Science and Public Administration, University of Zambia, 1968-1976

Dr Duncan Money, Researcher, African Studies Centre, University of Leiden

Jason Mosley, Research Associate, African Studies Centre, Oxford University

Steriah Mudenda, School of Education, The University of Zambia

Hassan Mudane, Lecturer, Department of Political Science, City University of Mogadishu.

John Munkombwe, Lecturer, Institute of Distance Education, The University of Zambia

Dr Patience Mususa, Senior Researcher, Nordic Africa Institute

Victor Mutelelekesha, Contemporary Artist, Founder of The Lusaka Contemporary Art Centre

Jean Mwape, Citizen of Zambia

Dr Mack Ndawana, IFP Subject Lead, Centre for Academic Language and Development, University of Bristol

Youngson Ndawana, Lecturer in Media Studies, University of Zambia

Professor Manenga Ndulo, Professor of Economics, University of Zambia

Professor Muna Ndulo, Professor of Law, Cornell University

Daniel Munday, PhD Candidate, University of Birmingham

Dr Bruce Mutsvairo, Professor of Journalism, Auburn University

Chantry Mweemba, International Relations and Human Rights expert

Olívio Nkilumbu – Professor, Politólogo e Consultor Político, Magistério Mutu Ya Kevela e Universidade Óscar Ribas

Nanjala Nyabola, Independent Researcher

Dr Robert Nyenhuis, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Cal Poly Pomona

Dr Ken O. Opalo, Assistant Professor, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

Dr Dan Paget, Lecturer in Politics, University of Aberdeen

Dr Michael Panzer, Adjunct Professor in History, Marist College

Dr Lazlo Passemiers, Senior Lecturer, University of the Free State, South Africa

Dr Justin Pearce, Research Fellow Global Soldiers, University of Sussex

Professor Didier Péclard, Associate Professor of Politics and African Studies, University of Geneva

Dr Iva Pesa, Assistant Professor Contemporary History, University of Groningen

Professor Anne Pitcher, Department of Political Science, University of Michigan

Professor Daniel Posner, Department of Political Science, UCLA

Dr Deborah Potts, Emeritus Reader in Human Geography, King’s College London

Professor Lise Rakner, Professor of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen

Professor Brian Raftopoulos, Research Fellow, University of the Free State

Elelwani Ramugondo, Chairperson of the Academic Freedom Committee, University of Cape Town

Cleopas Sambo, Lecturer, Department of Social Work & Sociology, University of Zambi

Dr Sara Rich Dorman, Senior Lecturer in African Politics, University of Edinburgh

Professor Oliver Saasa, Professor of International Economic Relations & Chancellor, Mulungushi University

Pamela Towela Sambo, Lecturer, School of Law, University of Zambia

Dr Edalina Rodrigues Sanches, Assistant Professor, ISCTE – University Institute of Lisbon (Portugal)

Dr Jenna Sapiano, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre (GPS), Monash University

Professor Chris Saunders, Emeritus Professor of Historical Studies, University of Cape Town

Nicolai Schulz, Postdoctoral Researcher, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

Dr Laura E. Seay, Assistant Professor, Department of Government, Colby College

Dr Marcia C. Schenck , Professor of Global History, University of Potsdam

Professor Jeremy Seekings, Professor of Political Studies and Sociology, University of Cape Town

Professor David Simon, Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK

Eunifridah Simuyaba, Lecturer, University of Zambia

Dr Neo Simutanyi, retired Senior Lecturer in Political Science, University of Zambia and Executive Director, Centre for Policy Dialogue

Doreen Sitali, School of Public Health, University of Zambia

Dr Lahra Smith, Associate Professor, African Studies Program & Department of Government, Georgetown University

Christian von Soest, Lead Research Fellow, Head of Peace and Security Research Program, German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA)

Dr Morris Szeftel, Senior Lecturer Emeritus, Political & International Studies, University of Leeds

Professor Blessing-Miles Tendi, Associate Professor in African Politics, University of Oxford

Dr Robin L. Turner, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science, Butler University

Bridget Bwalya Umar, Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Zambia

Professor Peter VonDoepp, Dept. of Political Science, University of Vermont

Professor Nicolas van de Walle, Professor of Government, Cornell University

Dr Michael Wahman, Assistant Professor, Michigan State University

Martin Waithaka, Independent

Source: Democracy in Africa


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