Zambia: Another opposition party leader arrested
15 Apr 2017 - 11:07
LUSAKA, Zambia: Zambia police has arrested an opposition party leader and four others for violating a mandatory ban imposed on supporters of the imprisoned party president Hakinde Hichilema.
The United Party for National Development’s (UPND) vice president told journalist on Friday that Steven Katuka, the party’s secretary general, was arrested when he went to Lilayi Police Training School to check health status of the detained leader Hichilema.
Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, the UPND vice president, said the party developed a panic mood over reports that Hichilema was denied access to medical facilities.
“It was against this background that Mr. Katuka decided to visit Mr Hichilema when the police arrested him,” he said.
According to Mwamba, the police issued a blanket ban on visiting Hichilema on Thursday.
“Senior party members, including lawyers were turned down when they went to see Hichilema. We have suspicions because the last time people heard of Mr. Hichilema, he was very sick,” he said.
But, police spokeswomen Easter Katongo justified the mandatory ban, saying it was intended to regulate people visiting the opposition leader.
On Wednesday, lawyers representing Hichilema claimed the opposition leader was denied access to medical service after he complained of a life threatening ailment.
Since Monday, over 30 people have been arrested and charged with various offences.
Hichilema and five of his personal bodyguards are facing treason charges for refusing to give way to President Edgar Lungu’s motorcade on Apr. 8 in Limulungu, 19.5 kilometers (12 miles) from the Mongu, provincial capital of western Zambia.
Others are facing various charges including “failure to obey lawful orders, obstructing police from carrying out duties and being disobedient to statutory orders.”