Zambian opposition leader thanks Maimane after deportation saga

2017-05-26 18:54
Hakainde Hichilema (File: AFP)

Hakainde Hichilema (File: AFP)

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Pretoria - From his prison cell, Zambian opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema, has thanked Democratic Alliance leader, Mmusi Maimane, for his support.

This is after Maimane was refused entry into Zambia on Thursday because he was allegedly going to mobilise opposition parties in the country to pressure the courts to release Hichilema.

"We were briefed by our team over the events that happened at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) last evening. This is where Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane was denied entry into Zambia," said Hichilema in a statement.

"Where else has this happened in the world other than North Korea? If there were any Zambians out there who keep doubting the intentions of a PF led government, that action should leave you in no doubt."

Hichilema said: "In a few weeks this country will be a fully-fledged dictatorship."

"Extra judicial activities where people will be detained without trial will define this country. South Africa is one of Africa's biggest economies and one of our biggest trade partners but we choose to antagonise them.

"Mmusi is South African first, before he is DA president; to therefore humiliate a South African of such high standing, is a diplomatic scandal.

"To Mmusi, thank you my brother for your support, soon, this episode will end. We shall legally reclaim our country, as there has been no dictator that has lived forever, examples worldwide are abound," he said.

Problematic statements

Maimane was refused entry into Zambia on Thursday evening after he landed in Lusaka at the KKIA to support Hichilema, leader of the opposition United Party for National Development, who went on trial for treason charges on Friday.

The maximum sentence for treason in Zambia is death.

Zambia's High Commissioner in South Africa, Emmanuel Mwamba, on Friday said Maimane was deported from Zambia because he intended pressurising the courts to release Hichilema.

Mwamba claimed that Maimane's comments about Hichilema were problematic as he intended to mobilise Zambian opposition parties.

"DA leader Mmusi Maimane was turned away from Zambia as his presence was going to undermine the sanctity, integrity and independence of the judiciary," Mwamba said.

Mwamba claimed that Maimane had not been truthful in his statements about Hichilema and that he had dramatised what happened to him on Thursday evening.

Maimane said that Hichilema was violently arrested over six weeks ago for allegedly attempting to block Zambian President Edgar Lungu's motorcade.

"The violent nature of his arrest, and the inhumane treatment that Hichilema has received in detention, confirms the political motives behind these charges.

"I have no doubt these charges were manufactured by the Zambian government to intimidate those who are opposed to its oppressive rule, which is an abuse of power and a serious disregard of the rule of law."

Read more on:    da  |  mmusi maimane  |  hakainde hichilema  |  zambia  |  southern africa

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