By STEVEN ZANDE and MUNAMBEZA MUWANEI –
UNITED Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema along with five others have been formerly charged with treason and disobedience to a lawful order.
Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja has labeled the opposition leader’s actions in Mongu as unreasonable, reckless and criminal.
The opposition leader’s motorcade refused to give way to the presidential motorcade when President Edgar Lungu was on his way to attend the Lozi traditional ceremony, Kuomboka, at the weekend.
Mr Hichilema, who was picked up from his residence in Lusaka’s New Kasama area and detained at Lilayi Police Station on Tuesday, has also been charged with disobeying statutory duty and using insulting language.
His co-accused are Lastone Mulilanduba, Muleya Haachenda, Walace Chakwe, Pretornous Haloba and Hamusonde Hamaleka, while 12 other UPND members were arrested for obstructing police officers in the due execution of duty.
Announcing the charges at a Press briefing in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Kanganja said Mr Hichilema disobeyed police orders to give way to the presidential motorcade, a move which endangered the life of the President.
“I would like to inform the nation that we have jointly charged and arrested Mr Hichilema and five others. It was established that the opposition leader disobeyed police orders to give way to the presidential motorcade on Limulunga Road in an attempt to put the life of the Republican President in danger,” Mr Kanganja said.
He said the dockets of the case would be taken to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for further ‘dealings’.
“Mr Hichilema’s actions were unreasonable, reckless and criminal,” Mr Kanganja said.
Mr Kanganja said police did not charge Mr Hichilema on Tuesday because his lawyers had requested to be present when the charge was being given.
He warned that police would not remain still while some individuals disregarded the law with a view to causing anarchy in the nation.
Mr Kanganja said police would ensure that individuals who intended to cause needless anarchy in the country would be arrested and prosecuted.
And by press time, efforts to get a comment from the UPND legal team failed as the lawyers were reportedly in court over another case involving the party.
However, UPND general secretary Steven Katuka when contacted, refused to comment stating that the party leadership would address all matters at a Press to be held at the secretariat today.
Meanwhile, four people have been arrested in connection with the attempted riots in Choma on Tuesday morning.
Southern Province Police Commissioner Bonny Kapeso said the four abandoned the cars after their attempt to riot was stopped by police officers.
“The Police in Choma have arrested four people who abandoned their two cars after their abortive attempt to ignite a riot by burning tyres on the street,” Mr Kapeso said.
He identified the four as Andrew Musariri, 17, of Shampande, while Dashen Hanambole 16, Kanyanyu Kambeu,17, were from Zambia Township and Juma Phiri, 21, was from Shampande Township.
“The four will be charged for proposing violence,”he said.
And in Namwala, police have picked another suspect involved in last year’s post-election violence.
He said Joe Shimootwe, 25, of Shakalimamushi village was apprehended after a tip from the public at Baambwe Local Court.
Shimootwe would appear in court soon.