PF acting president Given Lubinda has charged that President Hakainde Hichilema is the one giving orders on who to arrest, noting that three, out of four people the Head of State ‘angrily’ referred to during his recent press conference had already been nabbed.
And Lubinda has warned UPND “praise singers” to be wary because anything they say which is not in President Hichilema’s interest puts them at risk of being arrested.
Speaking when he went to offer solidarity to Bowman Lusambo who was detained at Kabwata Police station, Lubinda said it was unfortunate that President Hichilema was abusing his authority.
“This does not come to me as a surprise. What comes as a surprise is that we have a sitting head of state who can use a press briefing to expose the anger he has for particular individuals. It is not surprising to us because the people he mentioned at that press briefing, three out of the four have so far been arrested. [Raphael] Nakacinda was picked and taken to Solwezi because he was referred to by the President. Today, [Ronald] Chitotela is being brought from Kawambwa to Lusaka. And now Lusambo. And he also mentioned that I denied him bond when I was Justice Minister as though the Minister has power to grant bond. It will not be surprising if he picks me up tomorrow because the whole machinery is working on his instructions. Isn’t it the reason we complained when he signed the SI to bring all investigative wings of the state under his office?” Lubinda asked.
“He is the one commandeering them on whom to arrest, give bond or bail. It is clear that he is abusing his authority. Zambians must be on the lookout. Praise singers, look out. Today you are singing praises but the day you say anything that is not in his interest you shall also be arrested. I have just been informed that a number of bloggers have been arrested and we do not know where they are. So even you praise singers, be wary, your time is also coming. It is time for Zambians to stand up and defend our human dignity and human rights. We cannot allow people’s rights to be infringed upon in this country. This is not stone-aged politics. Let us handle politics in a civil manner not in this way by abusing authority.”
Lubinda wondered whether Lusambo was supposed to guess whom ACC had lined up as witnesses in his case.
“As Zambians, we need to pay attention to what Archbishop Alick Banda is telling us. He is advising us not to abuse our authority and power. What has happened today with Lusambo is surely an abuse of power. We were told that Lusambo went to appear before the Magistrates’ Court on the matter in which he was arrested by the ACC. Before he even appeared for mention, he was nabbed by the ACC and arrested on allegations that he is interfering with witnesses. This is extremely strange,” said Lubinda.
“How could he possibly interfere with witnesses even before the matter commences? He doesn’t even know who the witnesses for the State are. How could he possibly guess who they are? Have they brought any witness who has testified and they say Bowman has interfered with them? By the way, Lusambo was granted bail by [the] court and if he is interfering with witnesses, the right thing was for him to be presented to the magistrate who granted bail and for the State to apply for that bail to be revoked. It is not up to the police to re-arrest him and ignore that he was granted bail. This is interference of the Judiciary.”