OPPOSITION UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema and his co-accused have taken a plea of not guilty to the treason charge in the Lusaka High Court this afternoon.
Appearing before judge Charles Chanda in a packed courtroom for plea this afternoon, Hichilema, Hamusonde Hamaleka, Muleya Hachinda, Laston Mulilanduba, Pretorius Haloba, and Wallace Chabala, who were arrested on April 11 and charged with treason, all pleaded not guilty.
After clerk of the session Bright Simukoko read out the charges to the accused, Hichilema said he “strongly” denies the charge.
Hichilema’s co-accused also denied committing the offence.
After taking plea, judge Chanda said he had recorded pleas of not guilty.
Director of Public Prosecutions Lillian Siyunyi then proposed that the case comes up on Wednesday for trial and judge Chanda adjourned it to that date.
And sources close to the prosecution say a nolle prosequi is “very much on the cards” for Wednesday.
The allegations in this case are that Chakawa and Hachinda between April 5 and April 8, 2017, in Lusaka and Mongu, jointly and whist acting together with other persons unknown, endeavoured to carry out by force an enterprise to usurp the executive power of the state in a matter of both public and general nature by overt acts.
It is also alleged that Hichilema and Haloba on April 5, 2017 in Lusaka jointly and whilst acting together conspired to mobilise an advance party to ensure that Hichilema was to be accorded the status of the President of the Republic of Zambia at the Kuomboka Ceremony in Mongu but in the first overt acts, the allegations state that the UPND leader committed this offence with Chakawa.
The other allegation is that Hichilema, Hamaleka, Haloba, Mulilanduba, Chakawa and Hachinda on April 8, 2017 at Limulunga in Mongu jointly and whilst acting together with approximately 60 other unknown persons and being in a convoy of motor vehicles on the Mongu-Limulunga road obstructed the presidential motorcade, an act that was likely to cause death or grievous harm to the President of Zambia, in order to usurp the executive power of the State.