United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema has disclosed that he failed to be part of the political leaders that attended the veneration of the cross on Good Friday because his life was in danger.
Mr Hichilema said he had information that Patriotic Front (PF) cadres were going to attack him at St Ignatius Catholic Church had he gone for the service.
Mr Hichilema said although he wanted to be part of other political leaders from the opposition that attended the service, he was unable because he was informed by some good samaritan from within the PF ranks that cadres were planted at St Ignatius Catholic Church to waylay him (Hichilema) and physically assault him for criticizing President Michael Sata.
Mr Hichilema said he was the most wanted person among the PF leadership and that some named leaders in the ruling party had given instructions to the cadres to sort out the opposition leader.
The UPND leader said he was happy when he was invited to attend the Veneration of the Cross by Father Charles Chilinda but when he was told that his life was in danger; he (Hichilema) called the priest informing him that he did not want to turn the church grounds into a bloody battlefield.
Mr Hichilema has appealed to President Sata to come out and condemn and order the immediate arrest of the known criminals attempted to assassinate him in Ndola before he could begin talking of reconciliation.
“I would have loved to be among my colleagues from the opposition and to interact with President Sata. But my life yet again was in danger and I did not want to walk into the trap of the PF. The cadres had a meeting on Friday morning where they issued threats that they will beat anyone criticizing their leader and I was warned by some good samaritan that the cadres were going to waylay me at Church. I did not want to turn the grounds of the blessed St Ignatius Church into a bloody battlefield,” Hichilema said.
He explained that it was possible that the PF were going to attack him and that the ruling party was going to find a reason to arrest the UPND cadres for defending him.
Mr Hichilema said President Sata did not believe in peace and reconciliation adding that while the Catholic Church had good intentions to unite Zambians by asking the political leadership to learn to forgive and reconcile, President Sata was a man who did not believe in peace and love.
Mr Hichilema said he survived an assassination attempt in Ndola because of God’s grace and asked Fr Chilinda to accept and understand his predicament for not attending the church service.
“I spoke to Fr Chilinda and informed him that I was unable to attend because we received information that cadres had been planted at Church to waylay me. I told Fr Chilinda that my life was under threat and I hope he understood,” Mr Hichilema said.