ZAMBIA’S High Commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba has accused UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema and his entourage from the opposition party of lying against the government.
Hichilema, who was released from jail together with his five co-accused on August 16 after spending over four months in detention on alleged treason, is currently in South Africa where he addressed a press briefing today and met South African opposition members of parliament whom he told about the declining democracy in Zambia.
He also talked about his detention, and reiterated that he had forgiven his captors.
Hichilema further told the briefing about the lack of press freedom in Zambia following the closure of The Post on tax claims, Muvi TV, Komboni Radio and Radio Itezhi Tezhi whose licences were withdrawn and later restored after they apologized for their ‘wrongdoing’.
The joint press conference held with Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane in Capetown was carried live on SABC.
But High Commissioner Mwamba said the statement contained lies and falsehoods.
“It is sad that a Zambian national can travel abroad and speak ill of the country, especially on remarks based on lies and falsehood. Zambian nationals that travel abroad are expected to honour their solemn duty and responsibility to the country,”
High Commissioner Mwamba said in a statement issued by first secretary for press at the mission in Pretoria Naomi Nyawali.
He described Hichilema’s statement that Zambia was facing a breakdown in the rule of law as “lies based on total fabrications”.
“Mr Hichilema’s release from Prison together with his co-accused was a demonstration of Zambia’s entrenched rule of law and a tested democracy. And the recent court acquittals of Mr. Hichilema’s vice-president, Goeffrey Bwalya Mwamba and his senior member, Obvious Mwaliteta demonstrates that the judiciary is extremely independent,” High Commissioner Mwamba said. “Mr Hichilema’s claims that there is no media freedom in Zambia are lies as there is a diversified and independent media with over 85 radio stations and 15 television stations, including 10 newspaper firms operating freely in Zambia.”
He said suspension of licences for two radio stations and a TV station could therefore not be used to justify claims as the named stations were found liable for using and promoting hate speech.
“Mr Hichilema should positively use his time in South Africa to help contribute towards Zambia’s development and promote peace and unity. than spreading falsehoods and tarnishing the image of the country,”
said High Commissioner Mwamba.
“Zambia is experiencing an economic boom with inflation rate at 6.5 per cent, a stable exchange rate, a surplus crop harvest and a surging economic growth.”