There were no reports of abuses of religious freedom; however, the government imposed restrictions that affected members of religious groups.
In July the government deported a Catholic priest to his native Rwanda on the grounds that a sermon he delivered, in which he criticized government agricultural policies, might incite anti-government uprisings. The government revoked the deportation order in November due to pressure from civil society groups and the Catholic Church.
In October the chief registrar of societies announced that he would revoke the registration of all religious groups and communities taking an active role in politics, although he had not done so by year’s end. The law does not allow revocation of registration on that basis. In June the registrar threatened to revoke the registration of religious groups, churches, mosques, community organizations, and other similar societies for failing to pay their fees. On October 11, the chief registrar revoked the registration of the Independent Church of Zambia (ICOZ) for non-payment of fees.
In August the registrar revoked the registration of the Mount Zion Spiritual Church in Zambia because police arrested its bishop in connection with the killing of a college student. By law, the registrar may revoke the registration of a group for a number of reasons, but criminal involvement of one member is not among them.
Although all religious leaders were relatively comfortable with religious freedom provisions in the existing constitution, some expressed concern that ongoing constitutional reform discussions retained emphasis on Zambia as a Christian nation.