TARGETED: Hakainde Hichilema, of the opposition United Party for National Development, addresses an election rally in Lusaka in 2015. Zambian President Edgar Lungu's road rage has been exaggerated into a treason charge against Hichilema, says the writer, adding that there's no doubt the charge is being used to annihilate the opposition in the country. Picture: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg – Zambia’s unrepentant opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema, has said he is ready to die for his country and he won’t be intimidated by government tactics to silence him.

Hichilema, the leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND), has been ordered to appear before police next week on allegations that he instigated last week’s riots in Kitwe, the Zambian Observer reported.

The riots were sparked by reports that the government was in the process of selling off ZAFFICO, a strategic government-owned business responsible for timber and wood resources, to a private Chinese buyer.

Rejecting the accusations that he sparked the riots Hichilema said he was ready to face the police for interrogation and vowed that he “will continue speaking for the people as long as he is alive”.

Accusing Prime Minister Edgar Lungu’s government of intimidation tactics, Hichilema further asserted that he is a convenient scapegoat for all of Zambia’s problems.

“They are blaming the collapsing economy on HH, if the kwacha falls it’s HH, the death of Vespers is HH, the riots in Kitwe is HH; everything is HH, even when the rains are delayed, the blame will be on HH,” he stated.

And he has refused to back down on his assertions that Lusaka was putting its own interests, and that of the Chinese company involved in the purchase of ZAFFICO, before the interests of Zambians.

“Let me tell you something about this ZAFFICO scandal, we are far ahead of them. We know exactly what they (the government) are doing,” said Hichilema.

He asserted the Chinese involved in the purchase of ZAFFICO of wanting to have unquestionable access to Zambia’s natural resources and when the opposition questioned the government’s moves and motives, it is accused of incitement.

The Chinese purchased ZAFFICO for planting makula trees but instead are secretly mining gold and copper there at night, alleges the opposition.

African News Agency/ANA