Zambia frees opposition leader Saviour Chishimba arrested for abusing President Lungu
Zambian police on Thursday released the leader of a small opposition party who is a fierce critic of President Edgar Lungu after one week in detention, party officials said.
Savior Chishimba, leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP), was detained by plain-clothed police, triggering further accusations that Lungu was overseeing a crackdown on dissent.
“Our party president has been released unconditionally, meaning he will not go to court,” Mbaita Musendeka, the party secretary general, told AFP.
“The police had claimed he defamed the president but they have decided to discontinue the matter.”
Hakainde Hichilema, leader of the main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), has been in jail since April and is due to appear in court on treason charges on Monday.
He was arrested after his convoy allegedly refused to give way to the presidential motorcade.
Lungu invoked emergency powers last month, increasing police powers of arrest and detention, and blaming opposition parties for a string of arson attacks.
Chishimba was picked up shortly after he appeared in a live interview at a private television channel’s studios in Lusaka.