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Zambian opposition leader charged with treason

The police, on Wednesday, charged Zambian opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema, with treason for allegedly obstructing the motorcade of President Edgar Lungu.

Police chief Kakoma Kanganja told reporters:”It has been established that the opposition leader disobeyed police orders to clear the way, thereby putting the life of the head of state in danger.

“We have today jointly charged and arrested Hichilema and five others with treason.”

Hichilema, an economist and wealthy businessman, was detained on Tuesday after an incident involving the motorcade as it passed through Mongu, 500 km (310 miles) west of the capital Lusaka.

Hichilema, a wealthy economist known as “HH”, was defeated by President Edgar Lungu in an election last August, which he described as fraudulent.

His attempts to mount a legal challenge have so far been unsuccessful.

Hichilema’s lawyer Jack Mwiimbu said the opposition leader had been moved to Lilayi Police Training School in the capital for questioning.

A spokesman for Hichilema’s United Party for National Development (UPND), Charles Kakoma, said police broke doors to the opposition leader’s house in an exclusive suburb of Lusaka and fired tear gas canisters into the mansion.

Presidential spokesman Amos Chanda said Hichilema had obstructed Lungu’s motorcade, saying Hichilema’s motorcade maintained its lane instead of getting off the road.

Hichilema was granted bail in October after being charged with sedition, a move his team said was an attempt by the ruling party to silence dissent.

The police said opposition leader had been accused of assembly without a permit after he gave an impromptu address in the rural town of Mpongwe. (NAN)


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