Zambia hits out at 'political charlatan' Malema, says his accusations are baseless

2017-08-02 09:58
EFF leader Julius Malema (File: Netwerk24)

EFF leader Julius Malema (File: Netwerk24)

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Cape Town – The Zambian government has reacted angrily to the Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) leader Julius Malema's remarks over the weekend that President Edgar Lungu was a dictator, a report says.

Malema on Saturday accused Lungu of apartheid style repression for detaining a leading opposition politician on treason charges.

Hakainde Hichilema, leader of Zambia's United Party for National Development (UPND), has been in detention since April and Lungu in July imposed a state of emergency, a move critics saw as an effort to tighten his grip on power.

"There is something going terribly wrong in Zambia. The opposition is suppressed," Malema said in an address to his supporters at a stadium in the coastal city of Durban.

"Lungu, you are a coward. Allow the opposition to oppose you. If you are a true leader, you will defeat them properly not through arrest," he said.

'No one is being harassed' 

"You are not different from de Klerk, ...you are not different from Verwoerd. When people oppose you, you arrest them, you declare (a) state of emergency," said Malema.

But, according to BBC, the Zambian government hit out at Malema, saying that his accusations were "baseless because no one is being harassed".

Said Zambian government spokesperson Kampamba Mulenga: "Mr Malema should realise that Zambians are politically mature and are capable of dealing with their own issues if any, and cannot stoop so low as to ask for help from political charlatans and unruly individuals like Mr Malema."

For his part, Lungu has denied accusations that he was creating a dictatorship in Zambia and has accused rivals of trying to overturn last year's election results.

Hichilema narrowly lost the 2016 election to Lungu's Patriotic Front (PF) party, and has alleged that the result was rigged.

Read more on:    upnd  |  eff  |  hakainde hichilema  |  edgar lungu  |  julius malema  |  zambia  |  sa  |  southern africa

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