Zambian opposition leader charged with treason: police

WEB_PHOTO_ZAMBIA_HICHILEMA_11_08_2016

Main Zambian opposition party United Party for National Development presidential candidate Hakainde Hichilema delivers a speech during a last presidential campaign rally on August 10, 2016 in Lusaka. Zambians vote on August 11 for a president and MP's.

LUSAKA - Zambian opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has been charged with treason, police said Wednesday, after he allegedly refused to give way to President Edgar Lungu's motorcade on a main road.

Hichilema said he doesn't recognise Lungu as president and won't accept the result of last year's presidential election.

"We have charged Hichilema and five others with treason," Zambian police chief Kakoma Kanganja told reporters in Lusaka.

Hichilema's vehicles allegedly declined to pull over to allow Lungu's convoy to pass when they were both travelling to Western province for a traditional ceremony at the weekend.

READ: Zambian opposition leader detained over 'treason': lawyer

More than 100 armed police surrounded Hichilema's house outside Lusaka early on Tuesday and tear gas was fired before a raid when he was taken into custody.

Hichilema, head of the United Party for National Development (UPND), has launched several legal attempts to challenge the August election result.

He said that the vote was rigged and accused Lungu of an unprecedented bout of political repression in Zambia, which has been known for its relative stability.

READ: Ailing Zambia economy could hurt President Lungu in election

The election campaign was marked by clashes between supporters of Lungu's Patriotic Front (PF) party and the UPND.

Treason is a non-bailable offence in Zambia, with a minimum jail term of 15 years and a maximum sentence of death.