RELEASE Hakainde Hichilema now without any conditions, Southern Province chiefs have demanded.
And chief Hamusonde has wondered why the police had to damage Hichilema’s property when he has never resisted police call-outs.
Police on Wednesday charged Hichilema with treason after his detention on Tuesday.
But chief Chikanta, the chairperson of the Southern Province Royal Foundation, said the Mongu incident did not warrant a treason charge.
“We as chiefs are seeking for the immediate release of Hakainde Hichilema, without any conditions because we believe it is politically motivated. If anything, the Mongu incident warrants a road traffic offence,” chief Chikanta said.
He also wondered why only the UPND leader was arrested when there were a lot of vehicles along the Mongu-Limulunga road on Saturday overtaken by President Edgar Lungu’s motorcade.
Chief Chikanta added that it was the first time in Zambia’s histry that such an arrest left a trail of destruction to property and people being brutalised by police.
“We had Dr Kaunda arresting people but no damage to property; Chiluba arrested Kaunda but did not damage KK’s house,” said chief Chikanta.
And chief Hamusonde said traditional leaders had been against any political vengeance as that exhibited against Hichilema.
He said for the interest of Zambia, President Lungu should release Hichilema.
“Release him now. The charge is questionable and Zambians will be suspicious. Hichilema’s arrest is a damage to Zambia’s credibility internationally. Everybody is disturbed. I am very disturbed, it’s not because HH is my son, yes he is my son but he is an international figure,” said chief Hamusnde.
“Why did the police damage his house? HH does not refuse to go to the police when called. He would have gone there happily, so why damage property of a person not resisting?”
On Monday night, masked police raided Hichilema’s New Kasama home in an attempt to arrest him but their exercise drew a blank.
The officers looted household property such as blankets and carpets, food and undisclosed sums of money.
They also left a trail of destruction to property and arrested several of the opposition leader’s workers as well as his political advisor William Banda and press aide Brian Mwiinga, who still remain detained.