Former Zambian president Edgar Lungu has been warned against jogging in public, with police branding his weekly workouts as “political activism”.
His Saturday runs with ordinary members of the public and supporters of his party, the Patriotic Front (PF), attracted much attention.
Mr Lungu was asked to seek police approval for future jogging events.
The police order comes amid speculation that he will run for president in 2026.
A police statement said the PF’s failure to alert them to “public gatherings or demonstrations… amounts to a violation of the law. This is to ensure public safety.”
He adds that “a procession of a former head of state should be carried out with his security service and devoid of political activism”.
But the former president’s lawyer, Makebu Zulu, told the BBC he would continue jogging without notifying police.
Mr Zulu threatened to take legal action against the government if the former president, 66, was prevented from training on Saturday.
“Mr Lungu has been jogging since time immemorial and his motivation has never been to break the law,” Mr Zulu said.
It is the latest apparent restriction on the activities of the former leader, who served as president from 2015 to 2021.
Some commentators said President Hakainde Hichilema’s government was using the heavy-handed tactics he had criticized during his many years in opposition.
The PF also said the former president was prevented from traveling for a medical trip despite seeking cabinet permission.
The BBC has contacted Home Affairs Minister Jacob Mwiimbu for comment but has yet to receive a response.
Despite announcing he would retire from politics after losing the 2021 elections, Mr Lungu has revived his public image in recent months.
He is understood to be considering running for office in three years, hoping to capitalize on growing anger over rising fuel and food prices.
Mr. Hichilema won in 2021 by a large majority in hopes of tackling the country’s economic problems.
He had already run for office five times without success.