By Paul Shalala in Lusaka, Zambia
Zambian President Michael Sata has been accused of using state power to try and muzzle the opposition. The accusation was made by the country’s opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema during an exclusive interview with The London Evening Post. “They are trying every means and ways to fix me but it will not work,” Hichilema said.
He was commenting on his arrest Monday which he said was a politically motivated move which is part of a scheme aimed at blocking him from contesting the 2016 presidential elections. Speaking to The LEP from his Kabulonga residence, Mr Hichilema, 50, who was arrested and charged with publishing false news with intent to cause public alarm on Tuesday, said he will fight the accusations to the end. The visibly annoyed outspoken politician added that he was ready to face the charge and that nothing will stop him from contesting the next presidential elections which are four years away.
“We are not worried and we will fight this intimidation to the end. They can’t beat us into submission. We are not afraid and we are not for sale. We can’t be bought,” said Hichilema who leads the United Party for National Development (UPND), the third largest party in Zambia’s parliament.
He accused the ruling party of using state institutions to suppress the opposition and silence all divergent views. “Democracy in Zambia is under threat. These people are using state institutions to muzzle the opposition. Anyone who has different views from those in power is dealt with. The international community must take keen interest to what is happening in Zambia, we don’t want the repeat of Ivory Coast in Zambia,” he added.