The state has amended the indictment on the treason charge against UPND president Hakainde Hichilema (HH), after the court ruled that it had failed to mention how exactly HH had tried to overthrow government. The state added two overt acts allegedly committed by HH:
- On 5 April in Lusaka, Hakainde Hichilema and Wallace Chakwa conspired to mobilise an advance party to ensure that Hakainde Hichilema was accorded the status of the president of the Republic of Zambia at the Kuomboka Ceremony in Mongu (no further details were given – but also see Fact Box).
- On 8 April 2017 in Mongu, Hakainde Hichilema and his five co-accused – Wallace Chakwa, Laston Mulilanduba, Muleya Hachinda, Pretorious Haloba and Hamusonde Hamaleka – and approximately 60 other unknown people, travelling in a convoy of motor vehicles, obstructed the presidential motorcade, an act that was likely to cause death or grievous harm to the president, in order to usurp the executive power of the state.
HH and his five co-accused have been charged with treason according to Article 43 (1) (a): “A person is guilty of treason (…) who prepares or endeavours to overthrow by unlawful means the government”. HH is also facing three other charges, including disobeying lawful orders to give way to Lungu’s motorcade, and thus disobeying statutory duty, and for use of insulting language against police officers, allegedly calling them “dogs”, “mother fuckers”, “idiots” and “assholes”.
The misdemeanours of disobedience and insulting language, to which HH pleaded not guilty, will be tried in the Magistrate’s Court, while the treason charge, which is non-bailable and thus the reason why HH has been in jail since 11 April, will have to be referred to the High Court.
Thus, Magistrate Greenwell Malumani refused to throw out the treason charge, as requested by HH’s lawyers, explaining that he did not have the power to dismiss the charge, as that can only be done by the High Court.