United Party for National Development (UPND) spokesperson Charles Kakoma has vowed that neither Hakainde Hichilema nor the party will apologise for speaking against Zambia in South Africa.
Many prominent opposition and civic leaders have condemned Mr Hichilema’s scathing attacks on the country at a press briefing in South Africa last week.
Most have described his attacks as a betrayal of his homeland and the people that he seeks to lead.
Among them, is former UPND vice-president for politics, Dr Canisius Banda who described Mr Hichilema’s actions as that of an enemy of the people.
Mr Kakoma said there was no reason why Mr Hichilema should be demonised or apologise for merely speaking the truth because his members of Parliament were suspended and there was a breakdown in the rule of law.
In an interview with the Daily Nation, Mr Kakoma said everything that Mr Hichilema said in South Africa was true, hence there was no need to apologise.
“There is nothing that HH said in South Africa that is not happening in Zambia. There is a breakdown in the rule of law and that is a fact.
“We have had situations where even if the court issues an order, the State disobeys that court order. You know that in Lusaka here, we had a court order that we go ahead with a rally in Kanyama and the police went ahead to surround the place, is that not a breakdown in the rule of law?” Mr Kakoma asked.
He said the UPND had a court order that HH be kept at Lusaka Central Correctional Facility and the police disobeyed and took him to Mukobeko Maximum Correctional Facility.
“So, if he says there is a breakdown in the rule of law what is not factual about that? Why should he apologise for stating the truth?” he said.
Mr Kakoma, who also defended Mr Hichilema’s claims that the Zambian Parliament was shutdown, said Parliament could only function properly when all members of Parliament were free to participate in its affairs.
“You are aware that 47 members of the UPND were suspended from Parliament and as a party, we could not have effective representation.
“So, when he complains about the legislature, he is basically saying there is something wrong in the way we are conducting affairs at Parliament. Malema’s political party walked out during Zuma’s question time in Parliament but they were not suspended,” Mr Kakoma said.
He said walking out of Parliament was not an offence warranting suspension as it was a Commonwealth practice.
“Hakainde Hichilema has a right to complain about how his MPs were treated, so we see no reason why he should be demonised or made to apologise for merely speaking the truth because his MPs were suspended,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Kakoma said there was nothing wrong for Mr Hichilema to have gone to foreigners because it was a global village.
He said Mr Hichilema had been complaining locally about issues in Zambia and that people had been calling for dialogue but it only took foreigners to start a process of dialogue.
Mr Kakoma wondered why it could be seen to be wrong to complain to foreigners when they were the ones who facilitated the process to start dialogue.
He said foreigners were part of Zambia as they had an interest of ensuring that there was democracy in Zambia and that human rights were respected.