Traditional leaders from five provinces of Zambia have issued a strong statement warning President Edgar Lungu that if he will be held personally responsible should anything happen to UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema.
And the Chiefs were turned away at Lilayi police when they went to visit Mr. Hichilema on Monday.
The Chiefs have since demanded the dropping of all charges against Mr Hichilema and that he must be released immediately and unconditionally saying the charges have no merit at law.
The Chiefs are also demanding that Mr Hichilema be taken to a hospital of his choice as he is unwell.
“Should this not take place and something happens to him, Mr Lungu and his government will bear full responsibility,” they warned.
STATEMENT BY TRADITIONAL LEADERS ON THE ARREST AND DETENTION OF THE UPND PRESIDENT HAKAINDE HICHILEMA
We the Royal Highnesses wish to express our disappointment and dismay over the raiding of the house and arrest of Mr. Hichilema who we consider as our son.
The raid on his house amounts to aggravated robbery as they first cut off power supply in the whole area, without a search warrant went in, armed and masked and broke in to the house, vandalized it, beat up and tortured members of the family and workers in the house.
They also stole countless personal items and goods such as shoes, bedsheets, under-wears, money etc. What has gone wrong now, that police could raid the house as though Hichilema is a dangerous criminal when they have arrested him more than fifteen times and he has complied.
The Police must take full responsibility for this action. We therefore demand the dropping of all charges against him and that he must be released immediately and unconditionally as these charges have no merit at law. Besides he is now not well and needs to be taken to a hospital of his choice. Should this not take place and something happens to him, Mr Lungu and his government will bear full responsibility.
What we notice is a system of selective justice by the police where the opposition, independent media and other civil society organisations with dissenting views are criminalized while ruling party offenders are left scot free.
We call for an end to intimidation and arrests of all dissenting voices including opposition leaders and their members. The judicial system has failed the people of Zambia and we demand that the ICC must hear the petition case to the satisfaction of all parties.
This is the only way peace can reign our land. We have arrived at these conclusions for the following reasons:
1. In 2012, Known cadres in Ndola attacked Mr. Hichilema who had to flee from the radio station through the roof. Perpetrators of this attack have not been apprehended to date.
2. In 2015, Patriotic Front cadres threw stones at the helicopter carrying Mr. Hichilema’s presidential campaign team in Shiwangandu. The same was repeated in 2016 when the same cadres attempted to burn the helicopter on the ground. The Member of Parliament who led the attack was thereby rewarded with the position of Home Affairs Minister.
3. In 2016, ruling party cadres attempted to kill Mr. Hichilema at Moba Hotel in Kitwe and UPND security disarmed them and reported the matter to police. There has been no police action to date.
4. On 8th July 2016, Davis Chama shot an innocent citizen in Mulobezi and he has since been rewarded with the position of Defense Minister.
5. Boswell Muswani, Officer Commanding, Lusaka Province, shot a UPND member at the high court and has never been reprimanded and now is in charge of most police operations such as the blocking of the UPND press conference at Chainama hotel and the raid at Hichilema’s residence last Sunday.
6. The killers of Mapenzi Chibulo, a UPND member in the 2016 election campaigns have not been apprehended up to now.
As custodians of peace and tradition, and leaders of the 15 million Zambians we are duty bound to call for law and order, peace, unity and stability in the country and we therefore demand that:
1. Our son Mr. Hichilema must be released forthwith and those responsible for aggravated robbery at his residence be brought to book by the police command.
2. We demand that Mr Hichilema be availed urgent medical care and if his health deteriorates any further, Mr Lungu and his government will be held responsible.
3. Let the Petition be heard and moved to ICC so that tensions and regional divisions are thereby resolved
4. Ethnic insults and ridicule as expressed clearly by PF leaders, Davis Chama, Mumbi Phiri, Chishimba Kambwili, Frank Bwalya, Bowman Lusambo and others must be criminalised and ended forthwith.
We are your Royal Highnesses;