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NO COMMENT, HH tells Ndola police as they warn him for seditious practices

(By Chambwa Moonga and Charles Tembo in Ndola)

UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema’s presence for police interrogations in Ndola yesterday caused a more than public holiday-like ambience around the provincial administration offices and in other parts of the city. And belligerent police officers barred and harassed journalists, mostly from private media organisations, from having access to Copperbelt Police Division headquarters. Meanwhile, police in Ndola recorded a warn and caution statement from Hichilema, with Copperbelt Province police commissioner Charity Katanga vowing to protect Chinese in the province.

On November 9, police summoned Hichilema to report himself for investigations at Copperbelt Police Division headquarters in Ndola on November 14, but he could not make it due to a bereavement in his family. Hichilema, who flew into Ndola yesterday morning, arrived at Copperbelt Police Division headquarters, adjacent to Ndola Central Police Station, slightly before 09:00 hours accompanied by his lawyers Gilbert Phiri, Keith Mweemba, Kabesha Mulilo, and Jack Mwiimbu.

Others who escorted Hichilema were his vice-president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, National Democratic Congress (NDC) consultant Chishimba Kambwili, People’s Alliance for Change (PAC) president Andyford Mayele Banda and several UPND members of parliament. The questioning was in relation to the PF government’s assertions that the opposition leader’s alleged remarks on Sun FM radio in Ndola, in relation to the ‘sale’ of ZAFFICO, sparked riots in Kitwe recently.

Hichilema went into the interrogations room at 09:30 hours and only emerged after 12:30 hours, sending hundreds into ecstasy.

The interrogation of Hichilema started with questions on privatisation

Police: Did you work as negotiator for government during privatisation?

Hichilema: I have never worked for government in my life.

Police: Do you have shares in Sun Hotel?

HH: No comment.

Police: Were you part of the privatisation of the mines?

HH: No comment.

Police: You negotiated for incentives in Sun Hotel?

HH: No comment.

Police: You were in charge of evaluating Sun International Hotel?

Hichilema: No comment.

Police: Do you understand what privatisation is?

Hichilema: No comment.

 

Police: Are you not a shareholder in Sun Hotel?

Hichilema: No comment.

 

Police: As a businessman, what are you dealing in?

HH: No comment.

 

The Second Segment

 

Police play a recording of the SUN FM Radio interview of Hichilema of 2nd November 2018.

 

Police: Are you confirming it is a correct version?

Hichilema: no comment.

Police: Did you hear what was being said on the recording?

HH: No comment.

 

Police: Were you the person being interviewed?

Hichilema: No comment.

 

Police: Whatever we have heard in the interview was it not you?

Hichilema: No comment.

 

Police then decided to record caution from him after realising he would not respond to any questions.

After administering caution, police informed Hichilema that they still have a few more questions.

 

Police: Did you feature on Sun FM Radio on 2nd  November 2018?

Hichilema: No comment.

 

Police: Did you say ZAFFICO has been sold?

Hichilema: No comment.

 

Police: Which Chinese are you saying bought ZAFFICO?

Hichilema: No comment.

Police: Do you have evidence that ZAFFICO had been sold to the Chinese?

Hichilema: No comment.

 

Police: Do you understand difference between listing and selling?

Hichilema: No comment.

 

Police: Do you understand that you promoted feelings of ill will against Chinese community?

Hichilema: No comment.

 

Police: Do you know that you seditiously intended to raise discontent when you said ZAFFICO had been sold?

Hichilema: No comment.

 

Police: Do you know that you told a lie on the sale of ZAFFICO?

Hichilema: No comment.

 

Police: How do you reverse something that has not been sold?

Hichilema: No comment.

 

The Warn and Caution statement was then recorded at 10:58 hours.

“You are warned that police are making inquiries into allegations of seditious practices contrary to section 57 1(b) as read with section 60 (1) (e) (f) of the Penal Code, Cap 87 of the Laws of Zambia.

You Hakainde Hichilema on 2nd November 2018 between 10:00 and 10:30 while being featured at Sun FM Radio on Your Opinion programme did utter seditious words to bring the Zambian government into hatred. You did tell a lie believing it to be a lie, telling listeners on radio that: Nabashitisha ZAFFICO filyafine bashitishe ZNBC. Nanomba line ndelanda nabashitisha kuma Chinese. Twakana mukwai. We will reverse the decision”.

 

Police: You were telling a lie that ZAFFICO had been sold when in fact not true. Do you understand allegations?

 

Hichilema: I do.

 

Police: Do you wish to say anything in answer to the allegation?

Hichilema: No.

At this point HH was made to sign the caution.

Outside the police officers, a crowd of animated UPND youths gathered around the questioning venue, singing and jogging in solidarity.

However, aggressive police officers, both on foot and aboard vans, kept guard around Ndola Central Police Station.

Blantyre Avenue and Kenneth Kaunda Avenue were completely blocked by police vans and officers.

Police officers could be seen, at intervals, roaming the ‘freed roads’ under a sweltering weather.

The nearby Independence Avenue, however, had traffic flowing smoothly, at least by press time.

A check by The Mast on the Ndola – Kitwe carriageway around 05:30 hours found that armed police officers had reinforced the Dola Hill checkpoint, with severe screening for only those entering Ndola.

Earlier after Hichilema and his entourage had entered the venue, a police – journalists spat ensued over entry rights.

ZNBC journalists and some from ZANIS had already passed the test and were effectively allowed in.

However, Frank Ching’ambu from ZANIS was apparently ‘unlucky’ and ended up being apprehended, reportedly for filming.

He was only released after 13:30 hours and later told The Mast that his detention was “a bad experience.”

Two Mast journalists, Chambwa Moonga and Salim Dawood, were mercilessly grabbed by the neck by a burly unidentified police officer whilst Muvi TV’s Mike Mubanga, like a unionist, bargained all he could afford for the journalists’ entry, but to no avail.

Other journalists who were denied entry were from Radio Phoenix, Times of Zambia, and Prime TV.

After interrogations, Hichilema was let go and his supporters upon learning of his ‘freedom’ burst into jubilation.

It took not less than 30 minutes for Hichilema and his delegation to leave the central business district, through Independence Avenue, slowly driving to Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport.

All and sundry watched and cheered as a long convoy made its way out of town.

Hichilema, Kambwili, Mayele Banda and GBM had a tough time to address the boisterous crowd as their attempts to speak were virtually drowned by ululations.

Kambwili, however, struggled to speak and was heard saying the opposition had declared war with the PF.

“We have declared war with PF; what they are doing is criminal. If they touch anyone of us in the opposition, they have touched everyone. Today, it’s HH [and] tomorrow it may be me. So we are in this together,” Kambwili told the crowd.

“We need to stand for each other; let us not put partisan politics. What PF is doing is illegal and we must stop this. We can only stop this if we say ‘you touch one, you touch all….”

Earlier, Hichilema said he was not intimidated because the fight was for Zambians.

“We have [done] the interrogation and in my view, it was done in a professional manner. We are through with it now and we are going home. We want to thank you the media for the support. We shall always be there for the people of Zambia,” said Hichilema.

“I’m grateful to my colleagues, president Banda of PAC and president Kambwili, who have come to support us. People fear to be near a police station but we thank our colleagues. The issue is about standing for the people of Zambia. So, if you stand for the people, you don’t fear. If you are afraid, never seek public office.”

Katanga later told journalists that a warn and caution statement had been recorded from Hichilema. She added that the police would continue to provide security to the Chinese.

“We have recorded a warn and caution statement. This is in connection to the false utterances that he issued on radio. We won’t allow this! Let me assure that the Chinese nationals will be protected here on the Copperbelt,” stressed Katanga.

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