POLICE have remained tight-lipped on the arrest and charge of New Labour Party leader Fresher Siwale whom they detained for questioning President Edgar Lungu’s identity.
But sources close to the matter say police intend to charge the opposition leader with defamation of the President.
And People’s Party President Mike Mulongoti says whatever fears the PF have will not stop the fight to get the true identity of President Edgar Lungu.
Siwale is detained at Chelston Police Station where no one is being allowed to visit him.
The source close to the matter revealed that Siwale has been charged with defamation of the President but could not give more details.
“He has been charged with defamation. The 48 hours elapses this (yesterday) evening so they are panicking and [they] slapped a defamation charge on him,” the source said.
Police spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo told journalists who asked her about the charge slapped on the opposition leader that they should wait for the police statement, which would be given at an appropriate time.
“You were advised to wait for our statement and the statement will be given at an appropriate time. I believe his lawyers know where the suspect is,” stated Katongo in the Zambia Police WhatsApp group around midday and went quiet afterwards and could not pick calls.
Nelson Phiri, the Lusaka Province police commissioner, was clearing his phone when phoned to confirm the charge on Siwale while the Inspector of Police Kakoma Kanganja could not be reached by phone.
Meanwhile, Mulongoti, who attempted to see Siwale yesterday, said only one person, a relative, was allowed to visit the New Labour Party leader.
“We went there at 11:00 hours this morning and we were told to come back at 12:30 hours which was the visiting time but instructions had changed that they will only allow one relative to see him and have said limited access. We have not been allowed to see him and whatever food we took has been left with a relative and the officers. It’s unfortunate that they are behaving like that,” Mulongoti complained.
He explained that he was not worried about imprisonment or death but about defending the constitution and the country.
“Whatever fears they have will not stop the fight because of incarceration, it’s only the truth that is going to stop this fight. Some of us are not worried about imprisonment or death, we are passionate about defending the constitution and defending Zambia. Those who are accusing us of being time wasters, we want to remind them that when we started fighting against the one party state, they called us names, when we started fighting against third term, they called us names, when we started saying things about corruption, they called us names. Today we are saying somebody is occupying our highest office in the land whose identity we are questioning, they are calling us names still,” said Mulongoti.
“I am sure they will hang in shame as they have done in the past for being irresponsible and not protect the constitution, for not protecting Zambia. So those who’re ready to protect Zambia will not be distracted. And some of those that call us names, you look at their profiles and identities, they are nowhere near us but out of decency we have chosen to keep quiet and hear them speak, after all they have the right to speak. We don’t have the right to speak nonsense, we don’t have the right to sound like them but only have the right to remain decent and only speak when it becomes necessary.”
Siwale has branded President Lungu an identity fraud.
He was earlier detained at Chilenje Police Station and moved to Chelston yesterday.
Siwale’s arrest followed his flashing on Muvi TV a photocopy of a national registration card in the names Lungu Edgar Chagwa, which was obtained in 1973.
The NRC number 216992/67/1 has a picture of a full-grown man resembling President Lungu, who was only 17 at the time the document was issued in Kitwe.