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Zambia warns diplomats against interference with internal affairs

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Saturday warned diplomats not to interfere in the country’s internal affairs.

Various local media quoted the Zambian leader warning the diplomats in the wake of the arrest of the country’s leading opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema who has been charged with treason, a move that has heightened tension in the southern African nation.

The United States (US) and the European Union (EU) have issued statements expressing concern over the heightened political tension in the country.

The News Diggers, a local online publication quoted the Zambian leader warning the diplomats not to meddle in the affairs of the country as Zambia was a sovereign state.

"Let me warn those who are accredited to Zambia as diplomats, those who run civil society organizations, who believe that I can interfere with the process, that they are wasting their time," the Zambian leader is quoted as saying.

"I want the diplomats to hear me loud and clear that they will not interfere with our sovereign matters here in Zambia.

"They came to represent their countries not to interfere in our governance, please," he added.

Lungu said he could not interfere in the matter and that the law should be allowed to take its course.

Hichilema, who narrowly lost to Lungu in last year’s presidential election and has refused to recognize the Zambian leader as winner as he believes the vote was stolen, was arrested last Wednesday and charged with four counts, among them treason, together with five other party supporters.

His party said he may appear in court on Tuesday and 20 lawyers have been arranged to defend him.


Police refute denying Zambia’s opposition leader medical attention

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- The police in Zambia on Sunday refuted reports that it had denied the country’s leading opposition leader medical attention while in detention.

Hakainde Hichilema, leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND), was detained last week and charged with treason.

Charles Kakoma, the party’s spokesperson said the opposition leader’s health was deteriorating and he has not been feeling well from the time he was detained due to the brutal attack and inhuman gassing when the police raided his home.

The party has since demanded that the opposition leader should be subjected to rigorous medical tests and treatment by independent doctors.

But police spokesperson Esther Mwaata-Katongo dispelled the claims that the opposition leader’s health was deteriorating and that he has been denied medical attention.

She said from the time the opposition leader was detained, the police have been allowing his personal doctor to visit him and conduct routine medical checkups on him.

She wondered why the police could deny the opposition leader medical attention when he was just a suspect when people who have been convicted were usually accorded their rights to medical attention.

"As police, we will not take such unjustified statements lightly because they are aimed at disturbing the security of the nation," she said in a statement.


Zambian police arrest another Opposition leader

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- Police in Zambia have arrested another opposition leader, a police spokesperson confirmed on Friday.

Chilufya Tayali, leader of the newly formed Economic and Equity Party, was arrested on Friday night following a posting on his Facebook page in which he accused the head of Zambia police of covering his inefficiency when he arrested the country’s main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema and charged him with treason.

Esther Mwaata-Katongo, the police spokesperson, confirmed the arrest of the opposition leader who has since been charged with criminal libel.

She said in a statement that it was an offense for the opposition leader to further insinuate in his post that the head of the police planned what happened in western Zambia’s Mongu district last Saturday.

He is expected to appear in court next Tuesday.

Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo warned on Thursday that the government will not condone the behavior of causing and agitating anarchy.

In Zambia, libel is not only an actionable tort (civil offence) but also a criminal offence, especially against the country’s president and other constitutional office holders.

On Wednesday, the police arrested Hichilema, a situation that has received mixed feelings, with other stakeholders saying the arrest of opposition leaders was meant to stifle divergent views.

Zambia approves new telecommunication licensing framework

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- The Zambian cabinet has approved a new licensing framework for the telecommunication industry, a senior official said Friday.

Minister of Transport and Communication Brian Mushimba said the new framework was aimed at re-aligning and promoting competition in the sector.

He told reporters that the new licensing framework would also encourage for more investment in the sector.

"The new regime now allows any operator to apply for a license of data. This will also allow for more competition in the sector, improve quality of service and lower costs of services in the sector," he said.

The government, he said, has cleaned up the licensing framework to unleash the potential of the industry in order to take advantage of the latest technological advancements.

The old licensing system had a restrictive framework that did not allow the entry of more mobile phone service providers.


Zambia state appealing for calm after arrest of Opposition leader

FOCUS: Zambian police hold opposition leader after overnight raid




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