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Zambian opposition leader arrested over 'libelous' Facebook post

Zambian opposition leader arrested over 'libelous' Facebook post


Leader of Zambia’s Economic and Equity Party (EEP), Chilufya Tayali has been arrested on Thursday for a post on his Facebook page weighing in on the treason case against main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema for obstructing the motorcade of President Edgar Lungu.

Tayali’s post on Thursday called out the Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja for “covering his ineficiency” by charging Hichilema with treason.

“Kanganja is just covering his inefficiency to charge HH with Treason, otherwise he should be an accomplice, where was his police to clear the way long before. That should have never happened, but maybe Kanganja planned it that way to kill the President or frame HH,” the Facebook post read.

This led to his arrest same day and libel charge, police spokesperson Esther Katongo confirmed in a statement.

She added that Tayali “insinuated that Mr. Kanganja planned what transpired in Mongu to kill President Edgar Lungu”, state media ZNBC reported.

As at Friday morning, the opposition leader is reported to be in detention.

Hakainde Hichilema, leader of the main United Party for National Development (UPND), and five others were charged on Wednesday with treason after refusing to give way to the president’s motorcade at Mongu, 500 km (300 miles) west of the capital Lusaka.

Hichilema, who is still in detention, accused the president of deploying police to his residence to ‘kill’ him. He was arrested on Tuesday after police fired tear gas into his residence and forcibly arrested him.

President Lungu told a gathering of party supporters in Kaputo on Friday that the country has rules and regulations and if found guilty, culprits should be convicted, ZNBC reported.

Treason charges against Hichilema, who unsuccessfully ran for president five times in 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015 and 2016, carry a death sentence.

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