Zambian opposition politician arrested

2016-03-02 22:18


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

Lusaka - Zambian police on Wednesday arrested a leading opposition politician on charges of training a private militia, and fired teargas to disperse his supporters as tensions increase ahead of August elections.

The arrest of Geoffrey Mwamba, vice president of the main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), came after President Edgar Lungu accused the party of training up 250 young men.

UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema, who narrowly lost last year's election after the sudden death of president Michael Sata, is seen as the biggest challenger to Lungu in the August 11 vote.

Mwamba "has been officially charged and arrested for the offence of unlawful training," police spokesperson Charity Chanda told journalists.

He was granted bail and will appear in court on March 10.

Police last Saturday rounded up 21 youths at a gym owned by Mwamba, who was defence minister under Sata.

Use legal means

Home Affairs Minister Davis Mwila told parliament on Wednesday that police found a pistol, ammunition and machetes when they raided the gym.

If convicted, Mwamba could face at least seven years in jail.

Hichilema denied that his party was setting up a militia force and vowed to oust Lungu in the election.

"This will not derail me and my team," he told AFP. "We are determined to get to power using legal means."

Hichilema came second with 46.7% of the votes cast in the 2015 election, against Lungu who won power with 48.3%.

Zambia's copper-dependent economy has been badly hit by the global commodity price slump, with inflation soaring to more than 20%.

Read more on:    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.