Zambian Police Quiz Opposition Leader Over Intelligence Comments

Zambian police questioned opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema over comments he made that he receives intelligence information before President Edgar Lungu does.

Hichilema, the United Party for National Development president who lost January elections to Lungu, was cautioned under a section of the state security act, according to his lawyer Jack Mwiimbu. He denies any wrongdoing.

Hichilema was arrested a number of times under Lungu’s predecessor Michael Sata on charges he said were politically motivated to target the opposition. Police followed instructions from Lungu in his most recent interrogation and the government is using “undue influence” over law enforcement, Mwiimbu told reporters in the capital, Lusaka.

“Investigations into this case will continue. He opted to remain silent during the time we were talking to him,” said Charity Munganga Chanda, a police spokeswoman. Police began investigating Hichilema’s comments before any instruction from Lungu, she told reporters after he emerged from an interview that lasted about an hour.

Hichilema was also asked about statements he made that Lungu arranged a fund of $10 million to destabilize Hichilema’s party and that the president sent people to South Africa to investigate how the UPND is funded, said the police’s Munganga Chanda.

Lungu beat Hichilema in the Jan. 20 presidential poll by about 28,000 votes. He took over the leadership of the ruling Patriotic Front from Sata, whose October death sparked the early election.

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