Zambia Court Releases 2 UPND Leaders

Two leaders of Zambia’s opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), who recently lost in the country’s presidential elections, were released Thursday following their arrest a day earlier.

A court in Ndola city released UPND President Hakainde Hichilema and his deputy Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba after they each posted a $2,500 bond.

The arrests came after the pair were summoned over a complaint they were trying to incite people to reject the result of August’s presidential election, which saw President Edgar Lungu returned to office after a bitter and violent campaign.

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The UPND rejects the election result and claims that “stolen votes” resulted in Lungu’s victory. He was declared the winner with 50.3 percent against Hichilema’s 47.63 percent.

Clashes were reported between UPND supporters and Lungu’s followers after the announcement of the result.

On the charges of inciting violence in Mpongwe and seditious practices, the duo pleaded not guilty in front of the Ndola-based judge.

Lawyers representing Hichilema and Mwamba said the duo were denied access to food and clean beds when they were put in police cells.

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The court set Oct. 19 as the trial date.