Zambian police forcibly entered the home of Hakainde Hichilema early on Tuesday morning, in a bid to arrest the opposition leader.
Hichilema and his family retreated to a safe room within the house. Speaking to the Daily Maverick from his safe room, Hichilema said: “This guy (President Edgar) 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. In the house we have a secure room (so we went there). 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.”
An audibly distressed Hichilema said that the men surrounding his house have been using some kind of toxic gas in an attempt to force him and his family from the safe room. “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 says he will stay in the safe room until he feels it is safe to come out. “I will stay here until I feel safe. I’m hoping (South African) President (Jacob) Zuma, or SADC [the Southern African Development Community], or the Americans will do something. Because anyone who believes in freedoms and the rule of law must do something. Somebody has to do something. This guy (President Lungu) is going to kill a lot of people.”
Charles Kakoma, a spokesperson for Hichilema’s United Party for National Development, said the party was still scrambling for details about what had happened and why. “It is true. The police raided Hichilema’s house last night. They broke the gates to his house and the doors to his house and fired tear gas in the whole house. Up to now they are still surrounding the house.”
There has been no clarification as to why the police are targeting Hichilema. “We don’t know but from what people are saying… they are investigating him on possible treason charges,” said Kakoma.
The Daily Maverick is reaching out to the Zambian government for comment. DM
Photo: Opposition United Party for National Development President, Hakainde Hichilema (L), addresses his final election rally ahead of the Presidential elections in Lusaka, Zambia, 29 October 2008. Photo: EPA/STR
Want to watch Richard Poplak’s audition for SA’s Got Talent?
Who doesn’t? Alas, it was removed by the host site for prolific swearing*... Now that we’ve got your attention, we thought we’d take the opportunity to talk to you about the small matter of book burning and freedom of speech.
Since its release, Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book Gangster State, has sparked numerous fascist-like behavior from certain members of the public (and the State). There have been planned book burnings, disrupted launches and Ace Magashule has openly called him a liar. And just to say thanks, a R10m defamation suit has been lodged against the author.
Pieter-Louis Myburgh is our latest Scorpio Investigative journalist recruit and we’re not going to let him and his crucial book be silenced. When the Cape Town launch was postponed, Maverick Insider stepped in and relocated it to a secure location so that Pieter-Louis’ revelations could be heard by the public. If we’ve learnt one thing over the past ten years it is this: when anyone tries to infringe on our constitutional rights, we have to fight back. Every day, our journalists are uncovering more details and evidence of State Capture and its various reincarnations. The rot is deep and the threats, like this recent one to freedom of speech, are real. You can support the cause by becoming an Insider and help free the speech that can make a difference.
*No video of Richard Poplak auditioning for SA’s Got Talent actually exists. Unless it does and we don’t know about it please send it through.
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