The ruling party came into power in September 2011 and is now taking a tougher line on dissent while it struggles to improve working conditions and revise the constitution.
After a year in office, President Michael Sata and his Patriotic Front (PF) are facing mounting opposition from old allies and growing discontent in its power base. Young supporters say that the government is failing to deliver on its campaign promises.
Sata and the PF campaigned on a slogan of "more jobs, less taxes and more money in your pocket".
Very few Zambians are seeing the reality of these promises. The cabinet's late July decision to increase salaries for government's top bureaucrats, including the president and vice president, by more than 100% did little to help.
With PF and Sata in office, Zambia's economy appears unstable. "Eleven months down the line, we don't have a clear economic policy direction," says Lusaka-based economic consultant John Kasanga. He says "wild statements" from the government have sent mixed signals to investors.
Average copper output has decreased due to delayed expansion plans and industrial unrest. As the pressure continues to mount, the government is becoming increasingly intolerant of its opponents.
One of its fiercest critics is Hakainde Hichilema, leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND). Since coming to power, the PF regime has hauled Hichilema before the courts, accusing him over a statement he made that Zambia was sending PF cadres to Sudan for military training.
On 13 August, prosecutors charged Hichilema with one count of publication of false news with intent to cause fear and alarm to the public.
"Apart from being an affront to freedom of expression of Mr Hichilema, this [decision] is also a strong indicator we have a government that is bent on silencing its critics using not only the legal system but also any other possible tools at its disposal," said a senior University of Zambia political science lecturer.
The influential Catholic Church, which was a key ally to Sata before the election, the Law Association of Zambia and leading civil society groups such as the Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes have condemned the PF's intolerance to views divergent from its own.
The August deportation of a Rwandan priest who questioned the government's role in helping poor farmers has further strained the government's relationship with the Catholic Church.
In July, labour minister Fackson Shamenda announced an increase in the minimum wage to 1.1m kwacha ($220) per month for non-unionised workers. Confusion over the announcement led to industrial unrest in the mines. In early August, a Chinese manager was killed at the Collum coal mine.
"The government, in its usual draconian fashion, implemented this minimum wage unilaterally, disregarding all channels of communication,"says a Lusaka-based policy analyst.
Other promises remain unfulfilled. The PF had promised to deliver a "people-driven" constitution within 90 days of assuming office, but it has not delivered a year later. For years, successive governments have tried to include clauses in the constitution to stipulate that presidential candidates must win 51% of the vote and have a vice-presidential running mate.
The PF government appears to have reneged on these important clauses, and with the appointment of PF secretary general Wynter Kabimba as justice minister in early September there is growing concern that a people-driven constitution has become more elusive●