Zambia charges opposition leader with defamation

Zambia charges opposition leader with defamation

Monday, March 21, 2016 4:09 pm

President Edgar Lungu: opposition must watch their tongues

President Edgar Lungu: opposition must watch their tongues

In Zambia, President Edgar Lungu and his security operatives are getting edgy over anything.

Zambian police on Monday arrested a leader of the opposition for saying Lungu used public funds in a trip to a holiday resort last year, a spokeswoman said.

Charity Munganga-Chanda said Erick Chanda, leader of the Fourth Revolution Party, was charged with defamation.

It was the second time an opposition leader will be charged in the country for saying something considered unpleasant to the Zambian leader. Early this month, another opposition leader, Geoffrey Mwamba, was arrested and charged with threatening President Edgar Lungu.

Mwamba, vice-president of the United Party for National Development, was arrested on charges of inciting violence against Lungu . Police said he had threatened to “go for his throat”. The court has released him on bail.

“I deny the charge,” Mwamba told a packed courtroom, without going into further details. If convicted, he faces a maximum of five years in prison, a lawyer said.

Political tensions are mounting before presidential, parliamentary and local elections in Aug. 11.

Mwamba was also arrested then released by the police several weeks ago on separate charges of training party supporters to become an illegal militia.

President Lungu a fortnight ago accused the opposition of training party supporters to cause voilence during the elections.

Mwamba also denied that charge and his party said the arrests of 21 of its members on similar accusations were meant to intimidate the opposition before presidential elections.

Both Lungu and United Party for National Development leader Hakainde Hichilema are seen as front runners.

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