AFRICA

Zambia's opposition leader alleges assassination plot

By Kennedy Gondwe – BBC News, Lusaka

The leader of Zambia’s main opposition party, Hakainde Hichilema, has alleged the government is plotting to kill him.

Mr Hichilema is facing accusations of using his positionas a consultant during the country’s privatisation of state-owned entities toenrich himself.

The accusations are spearheaded by former Finance Minister Edith Nawakwi, who leads another opposition party.

Mr Hichilema denies any wrongdoing

Although the privatisation happened inthe 90s, the government has said it is “disturbed” by the accusations.

Mr Hichilema on Monday said there was more to theaccusations.

“The truth is they want to have access to my physicalbody so that they can eliminate me. Their plan is to arrest and then kill me.But do l have to die for anyone to be in power?” he said in a statement.

He accused the ruling Patriotic Front party of getting desperate ahead of nextyear’s general elections.

“If offering myself to serve the country that l love somuch and growing increasingly popular are grave offences for which l must losemy life, so be it. I am not afraid,” Mr Hichilema added.

Information minister and government spokesperson Dora Siliya on Monday said

 the government was studying the accusations “and is following closely thereaction by the citizens who are the true owners of the property in question.”

In 2017 Mr Hichilema was imprisoned after he wascharged with treason alongside five others for allegedly blocking a presidentialmotorcade in western Zambia.

The charges were however dropped and Mr Hichilema wasreleased in a deal that was negotiated by officials from the Commonwealth.

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