THE Southern African Partnership for Democratic Change has requested SADC to intervene in the arrest of Hakainde Hichilema on trumped up treason charges.
In a letter to the SADC executive signed by South Africa’s Mmusi Maimane, Nevers Mumba of Zambia and Zimbabwe’s Morgan Tsvangirai, the Southern African Partnership for Democratic Change (SAPDC), noted with great concern the silence of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in light of the arrest, on trumped up charges, of Hichilema.
The organisation called for the immediate release of Hichilema, who was arrested on April 11 and is incarcerated and appearing in court for treason, some traffic offence and allegations of insulting police officers.
“As the SAPDC, we call upon SADC to intervene in this crisis instead of silently endorsing the acts of President Edgar Lungu, who is no longer committed to the democratic project,” the trio said.
It is condemnable that President Lungu has abandoned all democratic practices in order to cling onto power with an iron fist, all while SADC watches.
The trio said President Lungu had embarked on a campaign of intimidating those who work to safeguard democracy and its practices like media freedom.
“As the regional bloc tasked with ensuring economic and political stability, it is high time that it spoke out and acted on this atrocity unfolding in a country once regarded as a beacon of democracy on the continent,” they stated. “The big men of Africa cannot be allowed to trample on the democratic project of building a great continent that puts the people first and commits to human rights and constitutionalism.”
Maimane, who is also leader of South Africa’s Democratic Alliance, is SAPDC chairperson, deputised by MMD’s Mumba while Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change of Zimbabwe, is executive member.