The opposition leader, who was dragged to Zambia’s Force Headquarters where he was questioned before his arrest for allegedly defaming the President, is about the fourth citizen to be arrested for allegedly defaming the president or government officials under Zambia’s nearly one month emergency rule.
Earlier last month, three others; two university students and a medical doctor were arrested separately and are now appearing before courts of law for similarly defaming the president using the social media giant Face book.
Others in court for similar crimes but arrested shortly before the state of emergency was declared last month are opposition EEP president Chilufya Tayali, while a Barotse activist Munyinda Munukayumbwa was only released two weeks ago on Nolle Prosequi after spending three months in detention for seditious practices to do with a face book post that was attributed to him.
Munyinda was released after the state could not prove criminality against him.
Meanwhile, leader of the main opposition UPND, Hakainde Hichilema, has been in deplorable detention over trumped-up treason charges since April after his motorcade allegedly failed to give way to Mr. Lungu’s own on royal Limulunga road when the two were both guests of King Lubosi Imwiko II of Barotseland at the Ku-o-mboka annual water festival.
Police pounced on Chishimba earlier, as he arrived at Diamond TV along Bwinjimfumu Road where he was scheduled to record a political programme at the private television station, News Diggers has reported.
“It’s my first time to ever be interrogated by police, please put me in your prayers,” the opposition United Progressive People (UPP) leader told his supporters at the secretariat before he was taken away.
Plain-clothed police officers approached the opposition leader and took him to Force Headquarters where he was interrogated for 2 hours and 45 minutes.
He was then taken to Woodlands Police Station where police officers mobilized and led him to his Secretariat in Kabulonga for a search.
The police officers demanded for the press statement which Chishimba read at his recent press briefing where he castigated President Edgar Lungu for declaring a Threatened State of Emergency.
The opposition leader lately came to prominence for questioning president Lungu’s sudden astronomical wealth and other unscrupulous dealings of some named Zambian cabinet ministers, such as the Maize Gate scandal that saw their Malawian counterparts fired from cabinet positions to face the wrath of the Malawian law.
While the Malawian government dealt severely with those involved in the Maize Gate scandal which implicated some Zambian cabinet minister, Mr. Chishimba wondered why the Zambian government seemed to be shielding the Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya and others from facing the Zambian law.
In the same period, Mr. Chishimba had accused the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) for corruption until the authority instituted litigation constraining the opposition leader from speaking against the authority.
He now faces a K100 billion Zambian Kwacha lawsuit for defaming the authority in a move largely seen as an act of intimidation of a whistle blower.
Meanwhile, it is feared that more human rights abuses will be witnessed as the Zambia police force continue to entrench President Lungu’s emergency rule using the extra powers granted to them under his decree.