Police officers at Kabwata police station yesterday blocked opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema from visiting detained outspoken civil rights activist and a strong critic of the PF government Brebner Changala, who is being detained without bail on a drug trafficking charge.
And Peoples Party leader Mr Mulongoti described the arrest of Mr Changala as persecution and warned that the PF leaders would pay for their arrogance once they are voted out of office.
But Mr Hichilema has charged that Changala’s incarceration was intended to silence him over the many issues he has been raising against the PF government.
Mr Changala has been critical of the double standards of the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) and appointment of Mutembo Nchito as Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) when he was culpable of offences on the K18 billion Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) advance to defunct Zambian Airways.
Mr Hichilema said Mr Changala was a victim of political suppression by the PF regime and wondered why he was in detention when he was not guilty. He said this was true dictatorship of the PF regime because they don’t want anyone to criticise them.
“As UNPD we shall not be stopped by this suppression by the PF and we want to assure Changala and his family that he is not alone. We are with him because we stand for the oppressed. Even if the officers stopped us the first time we shall go to see him because it is clear that this persecution is political,” Hakainde said.
And Mr Mulongoti charged that it was unacceptable for the PF leadership to use the DEC act to oppress certain individuals in society.
He said there was need to reform the public order act of 1964 and that once elected President he would work to repeal the DEC Act because it was being used to search people without authority from the courts of law.
Mr Changala who has consistently attacked government over its poor governance record is accused of trafficking drugs which were allegedly found in his sister’s suitcase in her room at the time police raided his Kabwata home on August 9.
But Mr Hichilema vowed that he will do whatever it takes to see Mr Changala at the police station because it was his right to do so and that the accused was a citizen of Zambia.
He said police officers at the station obstructed his advance party and who could not be allowed to see Mr Changala.
And Mr Mulongoti further said the PF was abusing the Drug Enforcement Act to harass and intimidate citizens particularly those who were perceived to be critics of its governance system.
Mr Changala and his sister Agnes Kawandami were formally arrested and charged with drug trafficking on Friday after police officers collected some deworming tablets when they conducted a search at his home on 9th August.