Hakainde Hichilema (HH), Zambia’s opposition chief has stated that President Edgar Lungu wants to kill him after police raided his residence firing tear gas. He is currently under arrest and has issued a warn and caution statement to police.
“This guy, (President) Lungu, he wants to kill me. He’s basically broken into my house and put his men around. The whole night they were harassing my wife and children…
“They have beaten all my workers. And they are still here. This guy is a dictator, a full-blown dictator. We’ve been saying so, no one in the region has been listening, and this is the consequence of not taking notice,” he told a private South African media portal from a safe room before his arrest on Tuesday morning.
President Hichilema has been transfered from Woodlands Police station to Lilayi Police College after recording a warn &caution statement. pic.twitter.com/fZHo2PRqYE
— UPND (@UPNDZM) April 11, 2017
Reuters quotes a party spokesman, Charles Kakoma, as having confirmed the police raid on Hichilema. Kokoma said police broke doors into the house in an exclusive suburb of the capital, Lusaka and fired tear gas canisters into the mansion.
He added that police had blocked the access road to the residence but did not say what they were looking for. “They broke the doors and teargassed the house,” Kakoma said. “They left the home after picking him.”
Hichilema is accused of having blocked the President’s motorcade on Sunday, charges his party, the United Party for National Development (UPND) have dismissed as untrue.
He also protested the use of what he described as ‘toxic gases’ by the security forces leading to complications for his asthmatic wife and child.
“My wife is asthmatic and my child is asthmatic, they are fainting. Our eyes are swollen from the toxic gas they have been pushing in here. We are injured, my family is injured. My workers around the homestead were tortured the whole night.”
Hichilema lost to the then incumbent Edgar Lungu in presidential polls held in August last year. Efforts to challenge the results through the courts have proven futile. He was granted bail in October after being charged with sedition, a move his team said was an attempt by the ruling party to silence dissent.
His party however refers to him as ‘President HH’ whiles his deputy Geoffery Bwalya Mwamba is also referred to as Vice President.