IT is contempt of Court for United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema to demand for the release of his supporters who are facing a serious case of aggravated robbery, Patriotic Front Lusaka Province (PF) youth chairperson Kennedy Kamba has charged.

Speaking after visiting former Kafue Member of Parliament Obvious Mwaliteta and other UPND officials who incarcerated at Chimbokaila prison yesterday, Mr. Hichilema demanded for their release, saying they were not criminals but citizens who were fighting for their rights.

Mr. Hichilema said his party would never give up but would continue to fight for its freedom and described the incarcerated Officials as “political prisoners” and that the party had gone to encourage them to remain strong because their freedoms would be secured soon. But Mr. Kamba said Mr. Hichilema’s demand amounted to contempt of the court because there was no one else with the mandate to decide cases apart from the courts of law and that his statement was aimed at intimidating the judiciary and should not be tolerated.

He said it was important for politicians to realise that they were not above the law and that any manoeuvres to influence the outcome of the cases before the courts of law should be treated as prejudicial and that those who were at the helm of making unwarranted statements against the judiciary should be cited for contempt.

He accused Mr. Hichilema of not having respect for the judiciary as he had repeatedly spoken ill of the judges in matters he wanted to have an upper hand in order to influence them to make decisions which were in his favour.

“Mr. Hichilema should be cited for contempt of court because he knows so well that the cases of his members who have been arrested are still in court and are yet to be concluded but he has continued to make running commentaries on them with reckless disregard of the law because he has no power to demand for the release of anyone.

“As PF youths in Lusaka, we will not accept any intimidation of the judges, prison warders, or police officers because these are just discharging their duties according to the law and so, no one should drag them in their personal battles and we will not accept any manipulation of the outcome of cases in court because we respect the rule of law and we have respect for and confidence in the judiciary in this country,” Mr. Kamba said.

Mr. Mwaliteta is one of the UPND officials who were arrested during the election period and charged with a non-bailable offence of aggravated robbery after they impounded a vehicle belonging to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) on suspicion of carrying pre-marked ballot papers aimed at rigging the election.