HH’s treason charge is baffling
The arrest of UPND President Hakainde Hichilema (HH) for treason is bewildering to say the least. HH has 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”. If HH’s motorcade refused to give way to President Lungu’s motorcade, as the police obviously believe (although this is being disputed by the UPND), it certainly is provocative, disrespectful and potentially reckless. It may even be criminal, but it does not strike me as a convincing attempt at overthrowing a government. Obviously, this is now for the court to decide, and may it be allowed to do so free of political pressure! The problem is that the police are an extension of the executive, and by slapping a treason charge on HH, they are giving the impression that Zambia is becoming increasingly autocratic. Let’s hope our development partners, funders and investors will be able to laugh off this unfortunate incident.
Camilla Hebo Buus, Editor Zambia Weekly