OPPOSITION United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema and his vice-president for administration Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba were yesterday formally arrested and charged with seditious practices and unlawful assembly.
Mr. Hichilema and Mr. Mwamba were arrested at Luanshya Police station in the afternoon yesterday where they were summoned to appear for questioning.
Copperbelt police chief Charity Katanga confirmed the arrest of Mr Hichilema and Mr Mwamba and said they were slapped with seditious practices and unlawful assembly charges.
Meanwhile, over 50 suspected UPND cadres had been arrested and detained for protesting the arrest of Mr Hichilema and Mr Mwamba.
Earlier, Mr Hichilema and Mr Mwamba appeared for interrogations at the Luanshya Central Police Station following their illegal meeting in Mpongwe district.It is alleged that last week, Mr. Hichilema and Mr. Mwamba stopped over in Mpongwe district and addressed a crowd without a police permit.
The duo were said to be on their way to visit a UPND sympathisers who were in custody in Kamfinsa when they stopped over in Mpongwe and addressed their supporters whom they allegedly urged not to recognise the election of President Edgar Lungu and to fight for what is right. Mr. Hichilema and Mr. Mwamba who were accompanied by former vice-president Dr Guy Scott and former Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) president Dr Nevers Mumba arrived at the police in the morning around 11:05 and were led straight into a room where they were interrogated. After being interrogated for about five hours, Mr Hichilema and Mr Mwamba were notified that they had been officially arrested.
Meanwhile, business came to a standstill in Luanshya town as police threw teargas canisters to disperse rioters. By press time, lawyers for Mr Hichilema and Mr Mwamba had not come out from police offices in their bid to secure police bonds.