Zambia’s outspoken opposition leader has been charged with treason after allegedly blocking the president’s motorcade recently, police said Wednesday.
Hakainde Hichilema, who has said he does not recognize former opponent Edgar Lungu as the legitimate president, was arrested late Monday.
“It has been established that the opposition leader disobeyed police orders to clear the way, thereby putting the life of the head of state in danger,” police chief Kakoma Kanganja told reporters in Lusaka.
“We have charged Hichilema and five others with treason.”
There is no bail on the treason charge, which carries a possible death penalty.
The arrest is part of a deepening fallout from a contentious August presidential poll that both contenders claim to have won.
Opposition spokesman Charles Kakoma said police broke through the doors of Hichilema’s upscale home late Monday, blocked the gates and doors to prevent escape, tear-gassed the occupants and then took him away.
This is Hichilema’s second arrest since October, when police held him and charged him and his deputy with sedition over their claims that the presidential poll was unfair. Dozens of their supporters were also arrested at the time.