|24. April 2017
Lungu creating confusion to justify state of emergency – Zambian opposition
Zambia’s main opposition party, the United Party for National Development (UPND), has reportedly accused President Edgar Lungu’s government of trying to frame it for arson, adding that this was part of the government’s plan to increase political repression.
According to the BBC, Lungu said last week that he was contemplating imposing a state of emergency in the southern African country after government buildings were torched.
Lungu alleged that the attacks were being carried out by the main opposition party to protest the fact that its leader Hakainde Hichilema is facing treason charges.
But the UPND has denied the allegations. "They are creating deliberate confusion to justify a state of emergency. There are no UPND members who have been arrested for arson," party spokesperson Charles Kakoma said.
Reports have indicated that Hichilema remained behind bars after he was arrested for allegedly blocking Lungu’s motorcade, while both were travelling to a traditional event in Zambia's western province.
Hichilema, a wealthy businessman, has been detained since police raided his Lusaka home on April 11.
He has been accused of endangering Lungu's life, when his convoy allegedly refused to give way for the presidential motorcade.
In court, he was also accused of trying to overthrow the government between October and April.
Hichilema has launched several legal attempts to challenge the result of last year's election, which he lost narrowly to Lungu.
The election campaign was marked by clashes between supporters of Lungu's Patriotic Front (PF) and Hichilema's UPND.