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After jail, Zambia opposition leader vows won’t seek revenge

Hakainde Hichilema

Lusaka, Zambia | AFP | Zambia’s main opposition leader on Tuesday vowed to forgive his political opponents and not seek revenge following four months in jail for allegedly failing to give way to the presidential motorcade.

Hakainde Hichilema addressed a prayer meeting two weeks after his release from prison telling thousands of worshippers he did not harbour hatred against the authorities after he was brutally arrested in April.

“Despite the injustices that we went through, we harbour no hatred and we do hereby forgive… all,” he said.

“And there are many who were involved in our brutal arrest and subsequent detention,” the leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND) told jubilant crowds at the capital city’s Anglican cathedral.

“We are Christians and it is therefore imperative that we love one another. We should not be paying evil for evil. We should strive to live at peace with all men,” he said.

Hichilema had claimed in April that he was assaulted by police during his arrest when more than 100 armed police surrounded his house outside Lusaka, firing tear gas before taking him into custody.

Nicknamed “HH”, he had been charged with treason for allegedly blocking President Edgar Lungu’s motorcade.

He was released on August 16 after the charges were dropped.

A planned appearance at the capital’s Anglican cathedral was blocked by heavily armed police on August 24.

Hichilema, who disputes the results of last year’s election, which he narrowly lost, and refuses to recognise Lungu as the president, also complained of the inhumane conditions in Zambian prisons.

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