HAKAINDE Hichilema must offer a public apology for suggesting that he receives intelligence reports ahead of President Edgar Lungu because the statement was reckless and has the potential to permanently ruin his political career, Agenda for Better Zambia (ABZ) president Frank Bwalya has warned.
The people who prepare the final intelligence reports for the Head of State, he said, were known and the revelation created a danger as they could become victims and lose their jobs through dismissals or retirements.
The ABZ leader said Mr Hichilema would be guilty of causing the dismissals or retirements of the senior officers which he said could lead to the suffering of their families.
Fr Bwalya said Mr Hichilema should have realised that his statement amounted to a serious criminal offense and should therefore consider apologising to save his political career from being permanently ruined with the dent of a criminal record.
Fr Bwalya said it was his considered view that it was better late than never to apologise for his claims because that was the only way he was going to weave himself out of his precarious political situation.
Fr Bwalya said failure by Mr Hichilema to apologise would lead to his possible trail and conviction, an action that would disqualify him from ever contesting the presidency in the country.
Fr Bwalya advised that Mr Hichilema could save his political career and ambition of becoming Zambia’s president if he expressed remorse over his statement by telling the nation that he did not mean what he said as he was merely politicking.
“Being found in such a quandary, Mr Hichilema has been left with a situation of going for a lesser evil of apologising to save his political career and contest the presidency in the next election. But if he is going to insist that he controls the intelligence system and receives intelligence reports meant for the President’s eye only, it may be the end of his political career. He must therefore realise that his claim was reckless and amounts to a serious offense,” Fr Bwalya said.
Fr Bwalya said Mr Hichilema was wrong to claim that intelligence reports meant for President Lungu were being availed to him before the Head of State because that was obtaining intelligence reports without permission. The ABZ leader said the claim by Mr Hichilema had the potential to create panic and fear in the rank and file of the intelligence system and those fears could lead to witch-hunting which could lead to the victimisation of innocent officers in the service.
“I personally believe that people who are involved in the preparation of the final intelligence reports for the President are known within the system. Therefore, Mr Hichilema’s statement endangers the careers and job security of the officers. Should such officers be fired due to the suspicion created Mr Hichilema, he will be responsible for the suffering of the affected families.
This is why I personally think it would be better for the UPND leader to apologise and save the jobs of people who may be suspected of giving him intelligence tips,” Fr Bwalya said.
Fr Bwalya observed that unlike the case in which Mr Hichilema was arrested under the now abolished Section 67 of the Penal Code for claiming that the Patriotic Front (PF) was training militia in Sudan and in which Director of Public Prosecuting has since entered a nolle prosequi, the UPND leader had this time committed a different criminal case for which he could easly be convicted and taken to jail. He stated that the offense Mr Hichilema could have committed in claiming that he was receiving intelligence briefs was far from publishing false information with intent to cause alarm and fear.