Zambia opposition leader seeks to quash 'treason' charge

2017-04-20 14:28
(File: AFP)

(File: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Lusaka - Lawyers for the Zambian opposition leader arrested last week after allegedly refusing to give way to President Edgar Lungu's convoy have asked a court to throw out an associated treason charge.

Hakainde Hichilema has been jailed since the police raided his home outside Lusaka on April 11 on charges of breaking the highway code and using insulting language.

But the businessman-turned-politician is also accused of treason.

According to court documents, Hichilema "on unknown dates but between 10 October 2016 and 8 April 2017 and whilst acting together with other persons unknown did endeavour to overthrow by unlawful means the government of Edgar Lungu."

His defence team denounced the lack of details in the charges, and called on the magistrate court to verify they had been properly drafted.

One lawyer, Vincent Malambo, also urged the court "to determine whether the charge is not a mere fact or ploy of keeping the accused in custody."

State prosecutors admitted that the charge was not properly presented and asked the court for permission to amend it.

Another defence lawyer, Keith Mweemba, protested the wording of the charges, saying: "There is no government of Edgar Lungu, but government of the Republic of Zambia."

"You cannot say government of an individual person."

Magistrate Greenwell Malumani did not say when he would hand down his ruling.

Hichilema and five of his aides first appeared in court Tuesday since their arrests last week.

His United Party for National Development (UPND) party has called the raid "barbaric" and has accused the police of harassment.

Hichilema has launched several unsuccessful legal bids to challenge Lungu's victory in last August's election, and has said he does not recognise Lungu's presidency.

He claims the vote was rigged and accuses Lungu of unleashing an unprecedented wave of political repression in the southern African country, which is known for its relative stability in the region.

Read more on:    edgar lungu  |  hakainde hichelema  |  zambia  |  southern africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.