Zambian Opposition Accuses Government of Violence, Intimidation

Zambian opposition parties accused the government of using violence against political opponents, stoking ethnic tensions and seeking to establish a one-party state in Africa’s biggest copper producer.

The Coalition for the Defence of Democratic Rights, which brings together Zambia’s biggest opposition parties, said today that President Michael Sata’s government is repeatedly arresting its members on politically motivated charges. Nevers Mumba, the president of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy, and Hakainde Hichilema, leader of the United Party for National Development, were among the coalition members addressing reporters in Johannesburg.

“The imprisonment, the harassments, the intimidation, the curtailing of our freedoms to hold rallies and meetings” are aimed at enforcing “a one-party state,” Mumba said.

Sata became president in September 2011 in his fourth attempt to win power.

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