STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka
POLICE have charged United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema with three more offences in addition to that of treason slapped on him on Tuesday.
And police have arrested five more people who have been jointly charged with Mr Hichilema.Â Twelve other UPND members have been arrested for obstructing police officers in the execution of duty.
Mr Hichilema was arrested on Tuesday and is currently in detention.
Other charges Hichilema and five others are facing are disobedience to lawful orders; disobeying of statutory duty (highway code); and use of insulting language.
â€œThe actions by the opposition leader were unreasonable, reckless and criminal,â€ Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja said.
Formally announcing the charges at his office yesterday, Mr Kanganja said Mr Hichilema has been jointly charged with Lastone Mulilanduba, Muleya Haachenda, Walace Chakwa, Pretornous Haloba and Hamusonde Hamaleka.
â€œAs Zambia Police, we have closely analysed what transpired in Mongu district of Western Province on Saturday, April 8, 2017 where UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema and other persons in his entourage obstructed the presidential motorcade.
â€œIt has been established that the opposition leader disobeyed police orders to give way to the presidential motorcade on Limulunga road in an attempt to put the life of the republican President in danger,â€ Mr Kanganja said.
He said dockets of the case will be taken to the Director of Public Prosecutions for further dealing.
Mr Kanganja said that police could not charge Mr Hichilema on the day of his arrest because one of his lawyers was not present.
Mr Kanganja also said police are acting independently to deal with acts of criminality perpetrated by UPND zealots.
Responding to questions from journalists, he said police are acting independently in dealing with the matter.
â€œThere is no political pressure and I donâ€™t get instructions from anywhere. I sit here and superintend over the Police,â€ he said.
Mr Kanganja said that police went in full combat gear to arrest Mr Hichilema because the UPND cadres have been violent and confrontational.
And on threats on his life and his family, and those of other government officials by the UPND zealots, Mr Kanganja said: â€œThe matter is being investigated. Whoever is behind will be dealt with accordingly. There is a limit to everything. We have tolerated these actions for a long time but now police are going to hit hard. We have tolerated enough.â€
The police chief said he will also undertake an in-house investigation to ascertain if there was indeed a lapse on the part of the police assigned to manage security in Mongu.
Video footage that has been circulated widely on social media shows resistance by vehicles in Mr Hichilemaâ€™s convoy to give way to the Presidentâ€™s motorcade.
Police cars with sirens blaring and lights on made attempts to direct the Hichilema convoy off the road, but they stuck to it.
STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka