Former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga

The Zambian government on Monday asked the former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga to stop interfering in its business. Raila Odinga had called for the quick release of treason-accused United Party for National Development leader Hakainde Hichilema.

Kampamba Mulenga, Zambia’s chief government spokesperson,  said that Mr Odinga should know that Zambia is a sovereign State whose three arms of Government deserve respect.

Ms Mulenga said Mr Odinga’s call for the release of Mr Hichilema is not in tandem with the tenets of democracy which demand that those accused of committing crimes are tried before the courts of law which should prove their innocence or guilt. She termed his remarks as inappropriate.

Mr Odinga said that the quick release of Mr Hichilema would be the first step in promoting democracy in Zambia and Africa.

Ms Mulenga, who is also Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, said it is inappropriate for anyone to call for the quick release of Mr Hichilema whose case is being handled by the judiciary which is constitutionally mandated to prove the innocence of suspects.

“Releasing someone who is still being tried in court cannot in anyway promote democracy but lawlessness because every other suspect will also ask to be released,” she said.

Ms Mulenga added that Zambia does not expect people from other countries to interfere with the operations of its three arms of Government. “We are a sovereign State and we don’t meddle in other countries’ governance issues. So, we don’t expect other countries to meddle in the running of our affairs, especially those that are in court,” Ms Mulenga said.

She, however, said Government welcomes genuine advice from other countries provided it does not interfere with operations of the executive, judiciary and the legislature.