Reuters reports that Government will drop treason Charges and Free HH on Monday

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UPND President Hakainde Hichilema leaving the court
UPND President Hakainde Hichilema leaving the court

LUSAKA (Reuters) – Zambia plans to drop treason charges against the country’s main opposition leader and free him from prison on Monday under a deal brokered by the Commonwealth secretary-general, government and legal sources told Reuters.

The United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema and five others were arrested in April and charged with treason after Hichilema’s convoy failed to make way for President Edgar Lungu’s motorcade.

Hichilema’s trial had been due to begin on Monday but two sources said the prosecution would apply to the court to discontinue the case.

The case has stoked political tensions in the continent’s No. 2 copper producer, seen as one of Africa’s more stable and functional democracies, following a bruising election last year.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland visited Zambia last week and told reporters she had met Lungu and Hichilema separately and that the two leaders had agreed to a process of dialogue facilitated by her office.

“That process of dialogue, which the Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Patricia Scotland is leading with the help of Catholic bishops, starts with the release of the opposition leader from prison,” a government source told Reuters on Sunday, referring to local religious leaders.

“The state will discontinue the treason case in the public interest as both the opposition leader and the head of state are committed to burying their past and starting dialogue envisaged to help address some of the issues the opposition raised after the 2016 elections so that the 2021 elections are better held.”

Lungu is committed to all aspects of the dialogue agreed between the president and the opposition leader, the source said, which include promoting peace, stability and public good.

“An overt act serious enough to warrant prosecution exists but the public interest seems to be the overriding consideration, so a nolle prosequi will be entered,” a public prosecutor told Reuters, using the legal term for the discharge of a case.

The southern African country has always been relatively stable but relations between the government and the opposition have been fraught since August when Lungu’s Patriotic Front (PF) beat the UPND in a presidential election marred by violence and which the opposition says was rigged.

It was the second time that Lungu beat Hichilema, an economist and businessman popularly known by his initials “HH”, in a presidential election by a razor-thin margin.

In June, church leaders including those from the influential Catholic church, called for Hichilema’s release.

Last month Lungu invoked emergency powers to deal with “acts of sabotage” by his political opponents, after fire gutted the country’s biggest market.

Under emergency laws, police can prohibit public meetings, detain suspects longer than usual, search without a warrant, close roads, impose curfews and restrict certain people’s movements.

78 COMMENTS

  1. no no no PF should demand this case to be heard, otherwise these southerners think they are too popular. they always win on social media through Zambian watchdog and news diggers

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    • Another exhibited evidence of visionless leadership. What did you gain out of that? You’re still not recognized and they’ll not recognize you until the Con-court sits and see the evidence of a rigged election.

      The current constitution bars you for 3rd term. What are you going to do now? You wasted time crying over recognition.

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    • Whatever transpires let peace prevail! We saw this happening, we hope there will be room for a new beginning without violence! Acceptance is key to moving ahead without hate!

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    • No no no no, the deal was made by Archbishop Terespho Mpundu.
      Anyway, Patricia Scotland figure just makes anyone heart melt, charges can be dropped.

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    • They’ve failed to break HH’s spirit & he can go the long mile even with a rotten judiciary.

      The risk of embarrassment by Keith Mweemba’s cross examination is too much to risk lungu’s already tattered image. Rather acquit him & maybe he can retain his fake humble Christian image than exposing himself as a dull lawyer who is brutal to anyone with opposing views by falsely accusing them with FAKE non-bailable offences.

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    • Your statement is really careless and ignorant. One would think that hat you staying in the world’s largest democracy would teach you a thing or two but it seems for you it doesn’t work. Whether the case is heard or not, it will not change the fact that it’s politically motivated and the justice system is not functioning independently.

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    • WE SHALL SEE – SOUNDS LIKE FAKE NEWS!!
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      A serious leak or fake news. One of the two.

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    • Lets hope that what will have been achieved with this saga is that we’ll see improvements in respect for the rule of law and clear separation of powers! However Zambians when assigned these offices become a timid lot and start groveling to the Executive than placing the interests of the country to the fore! We are yet to see where these developments lead to since it is also reported by Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland that the parties are agreed to dialogue on governance reforms as pertains to the constitution. Lets also hope that courtesy will be exercised to enable the citizenry understand what could really have moved the individuals to mutual agreements aside efforts by the clergy and the Commonwealth SG.

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    • So we should expect Edgar Changwa Lungu to follow next into Mukobeko–and keep him there for as long as possible. It is if but when. It just a matter of time.

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    • Let’s see how Lungu spins his way out of this one. He’s been trying to lecture us on the separation of powers between the presidency and the prosecution.

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    • Reuters has reported exactly what I said when Hon Scotland arrived in Zambia.

      She fired warning shots at PF thugs and Lungu to do the right thing or else.

      Surely did it need an outsider to tell Lungu to do the right thing over fake treason charges? Why Lungu expose his mediocrity to the outside world over a non issue.

      If Lungu wants to regain his credibility he follow my advice I wrote in one of my comments this week as the conditions for me to recognise him as President.

      Even Mugabe would not have done what Lungu did.

      Free HH or else.

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    • this lunatic will not regret his mistakes if they let go of him without apologizing to the president mark my words.

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    • That’s being wicked my friend,you are the same people who are destroying our country with your evil tribalism.

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  2. Its inhuman to wish him detained much longer but lets conduct politics with civility. Lets respect those in power today. I always say lets look at politics as a service not as a way to dominate others or as a matter of life and death. If people reject you so be it and those whom people choose must know that next time people may choose others to govern us.

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    • The DPP and Lungu have been exposed for their malicious prosecution and persecution. It had to take a black woman from the West Indies to show them up how they are not upholding “the public interest” with their crazy prosecutions. Lungu is the worst person to ever lead Zambia. Lungu will be properly prosecuted one day and he will then understand what treason really is. May he rot in hell!

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    • A Nolle Prosqui means that underfive has a case to answer. I thought that the ********** rejected this outrightly well before Patricia arrived. What has changed? Do the Dinkeys now agree that ubderfice is guilty?
      Anyway, just ignore Reuters, they are not aware that ********** are tge masters of misinformation in Zambia, Reuters will simply lose its credibility for consuming lies from donkeys…..kikikikikikikiki

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  3. This is a face saver for lungu….the court case was going to pure ridicule on his tyrannical rule for the outside world to see…..there was no treason case…

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    • Let the Raila Odinga of Zambia be released after all he has paid his price in full. Am sure he has learnt a lesson. He will start behaving properly now.

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    • No retreat no surrender , we still say without state sponsored violence lungu can never win any election…..the world is now watching lungu

      ….. .people who did not know HH now know who he is …..the whole world now knows HH

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  4. They are scared of their own shadows…. Banda cried. Lungu will weep

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  5. Why? We want to hear the case. We want to know what constitutes as treason in this so called Democracy.

    Is it because the State has got no evidence, or they know HH was politically arrested? We have to know through the court system if at all it functions.

    Let the case be heard.

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  6. Time for maturity has come, let the State turn the other cheek and show that they are bigger than trivial politics by releasing HH! He made mistakes but Godwilling he has learnt from the errors. Some of us are on record of stating he shouldn’t have been arrested on these charges, there are other offences he committed which the state couldve brought forward- charges that couldve brought out past evil dealings but sadly advisors continue to let the State down! We hope he becomes a changed man if not he will sadly find himself back.

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    • Is this how to resolve political differences? Locking up a political opponent on trumped up non-bailable offences is the lowest any political competitor can sink. Because you don’t agree with my ideas and style of governance, I am going to lock you up and charge you with an offence that carries the death penalty. Oh! what a shame..

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  7. UPND had better come up with an alternative way of winning over New sympathizers with their manifesto. The usual Lungu is a thief, Lungu is visionless etc will not do. Tell the people what policies/actions you will put in place if elected to put food on their tables, affordable medical care and education. Reducing cost of doing business and increasing the pocket power of the citizens to help them meet their basic needs.

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    • How can UPND do that when they are not allowed rallies , press briefs or radio interviews??

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    • Ba Spaka like lilo – But you do not need rallies to insult Lungu. Is there anything progressive comment for the nation that you have shared on this forum?

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    • abilima

      There is no other avenue left for UPND to pass it’s message , they are banned from meetings so the internet is the only avenue to vent anger at their tormentors…

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    • Odinga tried with Uhuru is a thief, Uhuru has no vision, Uhuru is bringing cheap sugar but these did not resonate with the electorates. UPND should now concentrate on what they will do for mother Zambia. Everyone knows what Lungu can do/cant. Now we want to know what UPND Can do

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    • Amagenge

      That is where the problem is…..when lungu sees large crowds going to listen to the UPND message, he uses the police to ban them from having any gatherings or rallies or meetings as is the case now…..

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    • It’s unfortunate that you have not taken your time to listen to the UPND message in their manifesto. You are only good at listening to empty messages like 90 days. I would rather listen to a fellow who has created wealth and jobs for thousands of people than to someone who has no track record of any significant personal achievement other than loyalty.

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  8. Let The Case Be Heard So That The World Can See How We Define Treasom Pa Zed.

    Kanganja Went On Leave Running Away From Questions.

    And This Judiciary Wants To Start Suspending Hh’s Lawyers.

    And They Want Journalists To Go Back To Pen And Paper System..

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  9. I told these useless empty tins back in April that they will have a hot potato on their hands…even people of RSA who have no interest in African affairs now know who HH is today. …even IMF have stalled because of this…whether this case goes on or is discontinued damage has already been done.
    What Lazy Lungu needs is get proper advisers in State House not drinking pals and corrupt Bishops.

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  10. Sadist and Dictator Lungu has no evidence to prove that HH and co-accused carried out overt activities to overthrow GRZ. They have to try and save face thru a Nolle but the damage has been done. Lungu was simply persecuting HH thru Prosecution. This business of charging opponents with unbailable offence for the purpose of keeping them in Jail,though innocent must stop. Release HH unharmed and unconditionally and let the Petition be have in Court. We want to know how Emmanuel Chavula hacked the ECZ Computers and manipulated the Election Results in favour of Lungu.

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  11. DOUBLE EDGED SWORD!! By the time we go for elections in 2021, HH WILL HAVE REINVENTED THE STORY THAT HE WAS ARRESTED ON TRUMPED CHARGES and tables will turn in reverse TO CONSUME LUNGU and his PF!! One thing is for sure, the PF HAS NO STRATEGISTS IN NEITHER COMMUNICATION NOR POLITICAL MOBILISATION!! They have also watered down Public institutions to a point where even a winnable cases pose serious problems for the prosecution!! WITH KAMBWILI OUT OF THE CAMPAIGN TEAM and others that have been let down, Lungu and PF winning 2021 is really in question, unless Lungu recluses himself from standing and early enough gives room to his party to find a suitable candidate for 2021 to stand against HH,otherwise it is done deal!!

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  12. Why should someone from outside come and solve our problems in our home its an acceptable how African prefer outsiders than there own people. this struggle would have been left with the catholic church only. until these people stop meddling into our business African will never be free, in the first place they do problem reaction solution. they secretly react the problem and then they are coming back to offer solutions. we know were the money for political movements come from. when will the people of Africa going to wake up or is t only PhD scholars like who can see these evil acts. Anyway i hope i have not insulted anyone i end here
    Cry Mother Zambia, cry Africa

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    • @14 MalcolmX, YOU ARE SPOT ON!! But this shows the TYPE OF LEADERSHIP WE CAN GET WITH UPND! The leadership of autopilot from outside! JUST SEE HOW MUCH “WHITE STOOGE PARTIES” LIKE THE DA of S.AFRICA support HH for a matter they have nothing to do with, but to wish to have a Zambia controlled by white multinationals of their interests!! THERE IS NOTHING NEW THAT CAME FROM THE COMMONWEALTH, that is better than what local Churches, African leaders and other interest groups had told HH to do; TO ACCEPT DEFEAT, PUSH FOR ELECTORAL,MORE DEMOCRATIC REFORMS! For a year, he ignored all that even when in detention till the COLONIAL, COMMONWEALTH STRUCTURE TOLD HIM HOW TO BEHAVE, THEN HE SAID “YES MADAM, I have heard!”

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    • Malcom X you state progressive ideas but people like @14.1 above are the type that have made us to be where we are ungovernable, failed political system and expression of any diverse views to them in power attracts harassment, fake criminal charges even treason and detention without bail. The world such as the Commonwealth notice danger and come to prompt countries like Zambia to man up and do the right thing. This shows that Zambian leadership has failed to match world standards and will be captained up as is the case now. The delusional will not like it.

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    • We need leadership that can bring sanity into Zambian politics. What happened in Zambia pre and post election time is primitive, to say the least. Serious electoral reforms is what we need urgently. I saw party cadres dressed as suicide bombers, wielding dangerous weapons and ready to attack the opposition. When results were announced, they rushed to dress up dogs in opposition regalia. Really, what would you call that? Competing against dogs? Only dogs can compete against other dogs.

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  13. The West does not want another Mugabe in the making….millions of Zimbabweans fleeing Mugabe’s tyrannical rule is still fresh in their momories…..lungu was told in no uncertain terms he will be sanctioned by the west and Zambia will be classed as a phiriaha failed state.

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  14. I knew it !! There was never a treason case here my fellow Zambians . So those law students who thought that they would get distinctions by referencing this so called treason case better forget it . Very misleading !! Let’s get back to civilization !!

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    • Did you read where the article says, “An overt act serious enough to warrant prosecution exists but the public interest seems to be the overriding consideration, so a nolle prosequi will be entered,” a public prosecutor told Reuters, using the legal term for the discharge of a case?

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    • “..serious enough to warrant prosecution exists..” Yes of a traffic offence….not treason.

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  15. Pomposity, rudeness and bitterness does not may one a leader. HH must stop, think and reflect as to why Zambians have been rejecting him.
    It doesn’t matter how long one tries to force himself on people as their leader, if he is not meant to be nothing and we mean nothing can change that position. HH take a backstage and just come to terms that just like many millions Zambians, he was not meant be President of Zambia. The earlier he realises this the better for him and his family.
    Zambia is bigger than a cheap economist with questionable wealth.

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    • Without state sponsored violence and brutality there is no way Mr lungu could have won…..no way no matter how much he spends on development..

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  16. IT WAS NOT NECESSARY TO RISK YOUR LIFE BY BEHAVING LIKE THAT IN MONGU. YOU MAY HAVE BEEN INFECTED WITH TB IN CHIMBOKAILA OR MUKOBEKO. THIS IS TIME FOR DEEP REFLECTION. NO ONE IS FORCING YOU TO RECOGNISE ECL AS OUR PRESIDENT. BUT YOUR LACK OF THAT RECOGNITION SHOULD NOT CAUSE YOU TO BE BLOCKING THE PRESIDENTS MOTORCADE. YOU ARE VERY LUCKY, YOU MAY HAVE BECOME ROTTEN IN PRISON WITH COURT ADJOURNMENTS. FROM THE LOOK OF THINGS, IT IS VERY UNLIKELY THAT ZAMBIANS CAN GIVE YOU STATE HOUSE. AT LEAST NOT IN 2021, MAYBE AFTER THAT IF YOU SHED OFF YOUR TRIBAL TAG.

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  17. If he is released, I hope he sues the pants off everyone involved in the malicious persecution.

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    • this lunatic will not regret his mistakes if they let go of him without apologizing to the president mark my words.

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  18. nothing is good ,i think upnd guy you dont like yo leader or is it true that some are benefit out of him being in preason

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  19. @9, so you dont know why UPNDonkey lawyer Gilbert Phiri has been suspended by the Judiciary? Let me give it to you freely. Underfive’s lawyers see him as a misfit considering his name, they don’t trust him purely on the basis of his name. You forget how easterners have been vilified by underfive and all his Donkeys since underfive lost the elections?

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    • Hmmm, so in your tiny little brain the Judiciary that has banned Gilbert is run by the UPND? Shocking reasoning.

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  20. Fellow citizens, this underfive must be tried and locked up. Do not believe this dialogue, reconciliation or whatever, remember that we are dealing with **********, or have you forgotten their behaviour and morals?
    You cannot trust a (UPN)Donkey baba, let’s not decieve ourselves.

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  21. The State failed to get witnesses to testify to overt acts by HH and five others.Lungu knows that a full Trial was going to embarrass the State. Who would want to be made a fool during cross examination? Mweemba and Phiri was going to have a field day in Court. How does the State compensate the Treason suspects after 120 days in filthy Jails? Jonathan Lungu must pay the price for this persecution. He must not be allowed to get away with murder.

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  22. this lunatic will not regret his mistakes if they let go of him without apologizing to the president mark my words.

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  23. Hmmmml….really? All along they have been insisting that HH tried to commit treason. Let have prove it in court today.

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  24. Ba LT we not interested in in your opinion. what do you mean by he won with a thin “razor margin’ just report what people are saying don’t bring your opinion we are not interested.

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  25. Let the justice prevail, if HH was guilty or not why succumb to the pressure from outside sources? If this articles story is true then our justice system will lose recognition and respect it has so far gained; The Law Association of Zambia should intervene so that justice is saved rather than kneeling to outside pressure, if HH is guilty or not guilty let the courts of law decide. Rather than hearing from outsiders, this will mean even the poor Zambians who have no one to talk on their behalf should be freed based on the much publicized views that HH will be freed without following the right channel. I am also a Tonga who happen to have some relatives behind bars but I am not complaining because they faced the final verdict and convicted by the courts of law; so even our brother HH…

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