UPND denies alleged hijack plan

President Michael Sata has accused the opposition UPND of planning to hijack and embarrass him as he was flying to Livingstone for the commissioning of Zambia Air Force (ZAF) cadets.

But UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has denied the allegations describing President Michael Sata’s statement as an attempt to alarm and cause fear among Zambians.

While commissioning 100 ZAF cadets in Livingstone yesterday, President  Sata thanked Southern province minister Daniel Munkombwe and the men and women in uniform for protecting him from the alleged UPND planned hijack.

“I would like to thank Mr Munkombwe and men and women in uniform for protecting me because when I was coming early this morning, my intelligence told me that UPND was planning to hijack and embarrass me,” said President Sata.

Mr. Sata who could not give more information on the alleged UPND planned hijacking said that people will know more about it.

But Mr Hichilema said President Sata should have focused on more important challenges affecting Zambians and that the hijack statement was so grave and a serious accusation that the Head of State should avoid making statements that had the potential to steer hatred.

Mr. Hichilema said that President Sata would be doing Zambians a great favour by stopping diverting the attention of the people from serious issues to petty things, adding that his statement was not only laughable but a sign of the pressure he was facing.

Mr Hichilema has appealed to President Sata to get to the bottom of that purported attempt to hijack him so that Zambians could know exactly whether the statement was true.

“The statement attributed to President Michael Sata that UPND were planning to hijack him in Livingstone has no basis and is just another attempt to justify his failure to attend to national duties as the Republican president,” Mr. Hichilema said.

Mr Hichilema in a statement said that instead of attending to national duties such as the one he was in Livingstone for and to discuss how he was going to lower the cost of living for the Zambians and addressing the depreciating currency, President Sata had resorted to issuing alarming statements against the UPND.

Mr. Hichilema charged that it was shameful for the President to suggest that he was not a protected man adding that his statement was just undermining the security personnel in his entourage.

“We all know that Mr. Sata, as the Head of State, is the most protected person in this country who cannot be hindered from any part of the country. In fact, it is a well know fact that it is actually the UPND and many other innocent citizens who have repeatedly been brutalised by Mr. Sata and PF thuggery across the country. As UPND and other citizens, we have been attacked in churches, attacked in Eastern province, almost assassinated in Ndola, and for him to issue such wild-outbursts is another futile attempt to divert the nation from serious national issues such as constitution making process, high mealie meal prices, and serious matters in the nation,” Mr Hichilema said.

Mr. Hichilema has since asked President Sata to behave like a Head of State by being serious and not resorting to comedy which has become part of his public display.

“It is actually the ordinary citizens from UPND, churches, civil society organisations, that are currently crying-out for protection from Mr. Sata and his PF thugs who have so far remained mute despite these abuses. We know Mr. Sata is just a joker, but such jokes are now out of order and a serious threat to national security. In fact, such statements from the Head of State justify what we have always been saying that the PF wants to create an environment to affect a state of emergency,” he said.

Meanwhile, President Sata has commended the men and women in the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) for not using the guns to conduct robberies in the country.

“Zambian people have trust in you, they have given you guns and swords but I am pleased that you have not used those guns for robberies or against your wives. You are all intelligent and you do not look like Edgar Lungu. Zambia is peaceful and for the past two years, you have not used not even short buttons,” Mr. Sata said.

The Head of State has also promoted lieutenant Mercy Samatamba to the rank of a major for her commitment towards her work as she was charged with a responsibility of commanding a platoon of men only.

Meanwhile, ZAF Commander Erick Chimase has advised his officers to desist from engaging themselves in politics.

Chimase said that disclosed in his speech that the Zambia Air Force equipment has improved since 2013 adding that the command is now better placed carry out its duties.