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Saturday, April 22, 2017
ZAMBIA: THE ARREST OF HAKAINDE HICHILEMA
ZAMBIA: THE ARREST OF HAKAINDE HICHILEMA
The United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hichilema along with some five other party cadres have been formerly charged with Treason and disobedience to a lawful order. The Zambia Police Inspector General Kanganja labelled the opposition leader’s action in Mongu (Western Province) as unreasonable, reckless and criminal. Hichilema’s motorcade refused to give way to the presidential motorcade when president Lungu was on his way to attend the Lozi traditional ceremony (Kuomboka) on 8th April 2017.
The police charge came in the work of last weekend’s incident which to all purposes could have resulted in a fatal road accident. On Tuesday (11th April) the opposition leader’s residence in new Kasama (Lusaka) was stormed by Zambia Police Officers who it is alleged caused damage to his home and property. The wife of Mr. Hichilema, Mutinta fainted three times as a result of tear gas canisters – she is believed to be asthmatic. It is alleged that the police officers stole colossal sums of Kwacha, South African Rand and US dollars.
The facts of the matter is that the UPND leader waylaid president Lungu’s presidential motorcade enroute to Mongu and refused to give way to the presidential motorcade which was provocative and a show of disrespect to Head of State and a breach of Zambia Police traffic regulations. Western province is among the regions that strongly voted for UPND during the August 2016 Presidential elections and the UPND leader’s actions were meant to showcase the fact that president Lungu was unwelcome to attend the Kuomboka traditional ceremony. After being apprehended, Mr. Hichilema was said to have slovenly insulted the Zambia police officers – something that was unbecoming of a well-respected opposition leader.
The Inspector general of police has opposed the UPNDs application for HABEAS CORPUS stating that the application has been overtaken by events (Hichilema who has been charged will appear in court). Meanwhile, the Zambia police service has unearthed more evidence which proves that the UPND leader is being supported by the International community. There is a story circulating on social media (Lusaka Times) in an article written by Greg Mills entitled NOW OR NEVER addressed to the International community. In the said article, Greg Mills alleges that the arrest and incarceration of Mr. Hichilema could be a feint, to test the response of the International community. Indeed during 2011, Mills wrote an article entitled “Could Uprisings Spread from Northern Africa to Africa South of the Sahara”. This was in response to the Arabs spring uprisings which broke out in Tunisia in 2010 and later spread to Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. In his article Mr. Mills, who heads the Brenthurst Foundation based in Johannesburg, South Africa, concludes that the International community should immediately intervene to save the situation in Zambia: “If the International community cares about this, and Human rights and freedom of speech, it should apply pressure on Lungu to release Hichilema immediately .”
The Brenthurst foundation was established in 2005 by the Oppeinheimer family. Ernest Oppeinheimer’s wealth and power could be traced to the Anglo – American corporation formed in 1917. In 1927, he bought over the shares of Cecil Rhodes in De Beers who effectively owned the diamond industry in South Africa. From 1996 to 2005, Greg Mills served as the national director of the South African institute of international affairs. He has lectured at universities in Africa and abroad and he is among the visiting staff of the NATO higher defence college in Rome, Italy and he is also a fellow of the London-based Royal Society of Arts.
The Zambian government has reacted very angrily against Mr. Mill’s article and branded him an imperialist stooge bent on sponsoring regime change in African countries. Political pluralism to differentiate it from one party state is a litmus test for western-style parliamentary democracy – defined as a periodic change of government through open and transparent elections. It is true that in Africa presidential elections come to elicit frightening ethnic and tribal prejudices between ruling and opposition political parties. In Zambia, the political pluralism which started in Ernest in 1991 has slowly stalled into ethnic and tribal animosities that have left the country divided in terms of voting patterns.
Because the UPND leader Hichilema perceives politics in terms of ethnic and tribal animosities it may come to pass that the recent treason charges levelled against him has been interpreted as a political and ethnic marginalisation of the Tonga and Lozi who massively voted for the UPND during the 11th August 2016 presidential elections. The relationship between Hichilema and the International Community stems from his academic and professional background and many politically vested groups in Zambia believe that Hichilema’s private wealth originates from his connection with the Anglo – American corporation. All told opposition parties in Africa tend to base their arguments on the issues of Human Rights and press freedom and in the process of defending this human rights and freedom of the press instigates social and political unrest. This is what is happening in Zambia today.
Box 280168, Chimwemwe
Kitwe – Zambia.
13th April, 2017.