Charging Hakainde Hichilema with treason is cruel, vindictive, unjust and inhuman.
What treasonable act did Hakainde commit? Is having the motor vehicle Hakainde was a passenger in not completely leaving the road to allow the automobile in which Edgar Lungu was riding to pass treason? Was Edgar’s car blocked from passing? Was Edgar’s motor vehicle forced to leave the road? Didn’t it pass Hakainde’s car from the right, the overtaking lane? And was Hakainde the driver?
There are more questions that can be asked but they all have nothing to do with treason. If there was any issue irritating anyone over this incident, it would be the road traffic one, and not an offence for which a passenger in any of the motors vehicles that were on the road could be charged for treason. But why is a passenger in one of the motor vehicles being charged with treason? Our simple and only explanation is because he is Hakainde Hichilema, a presidential candidate in last year’s elections who has refused to accept defeat because he believes the results were manipulated to make Edgar the winner.
But why charge Hakainde with treason? To make sure he is out of political circulation and abandons his claim of being the winner of the 2016 elections!
Treason is a non-bailable offence. And by the time Hakainde is acquitted, he would have spent two, three or four years in jail as a remandee prisoner. We say acquitted because even our most partisan and cruel judges will have difficulties convicting and sentencing anyone to death over such issues. Even Edgar himself knows very well that there will be no treason conviction over such silly issues. He just wants to fix Hakainde and get him to spend time in prison. This is also intended to weaken the UPND as a political party.
But this is not new in Zambian politics. Frederick Chiluba in 1997 detained Dr Kenneth Kaunda on Christmas Day on trumped up accusations of treason, of being involved in a military coup d’etat against him. When told by his legal advisors that there was no evidence against Dr Kaunda for them to detain him on treason charges, he told them: “Baiche imwe tamwaishiba ama politics.” So for politics, Dr Kaunda was detained in Mukobeko Maximum Prison on a lie by Chiluba. And so was Dean Mung’omba who was badly tortured to the amusement of Chiluba who, with a broad smile on his face, remarked: “They have done a few things to them and now they are talking.”
Equally in this case, it is all about politics. There is no treasonable offence Hakainde has committed. It’s all a lie. And they should simply admit that they are liars. And a man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar.
No honest person can behave the way they are behaving and do the things they are doing. Their hatred for Hakainde will lead them to commit serious crimes. If one can untruthfully accuse another of an offence whose sentence is death, then, given a chance, they can kill. But they shouldn’t forget that resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.