I am ten times stronger-HH
Opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has declared that he is now ten times stronger than he was when he went into prison.
And hundreds of UPND supporters thronged the streets of Lusaka shortly after Mr Hichilema was released to celebrate.
Addressing a crowd of supporters at the UPND Secretariat, Mr Hichilema who appeared calm declared that he is now stronger and more resolved to bring about a better Zambia for all.
Mr Hichilema also implored the UPND leadership to ensure they secure the release of all members in detention.
He charged that he is ready to return to prison if the state does not immediately release all UPND members who are facing what he called trumped up charges.
“To all the leaders in our party, we have a primary duty and serious responsibility to bring back order in our country. We have to secure the release of many of our people who are in detention. This thing has to come to an end. I am willing to go back to the cells if our people are not released,” Mr Hichilema told a crowd of jubilant supporters.
Mr Hichilema described his release from prison as the commencement of a journey towards real justice, equity and fairness for all Zambians.
“Top of FormThank you for coming out in the midst of great danger. It’s a journey where we commence our walk towards real freedom in the path of 1963, in the path of 1991. We want to bring real justice, equity and fairness to all our people. Thank all of you for coming out in the midst of great danger. Thank you to our heavenly father,” Mr Hichilema said.
Mr Hichilema also stressed the need for unity in the country.
“It’s our collectively duty to bring back unity in our country. We can’t run a country like this, we are so divided. It is not right for Clance Zulu to be buried in that manner. It’s not correct the way she was buried. We are committed to doing something to change this. just watch what we are going to do. Hakainde, can’t tire. I want to assure you that we are stronger than before, 10 times stronger than before we were incarcerated.”
The UPND leader also thanked Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Patricia Scotland and described her as a very intelligent woman.
“I wish to confirm that we had very good discussion with her, she is a very intelligent woman. We wish to state that we are committed to peace and stability, we can’t continue living the way we are. We are committed to the principles and values of the Commonwealth, the rule of law, good governance and freedoms,” Mr Hichilema said.
Mr Hichilema also denounced the treason charge he was slapped with.
“Have you ever seen a treason case involving family members only? I would like to thank my co-accused, the five of them, together were six. We stayed strong together whilst in jail sometimes not allowed to talk to each other for eight days but we strengthened each other when we met. I would also like to thank their families for the support they rendered.”
Mr Hichilema also pledged to work towards reforming the country’s criminal justice system.
He said Zambia’s criminal justice system has broken down and it is urgent that serious reforms are taken.
“We have to do something about our criminal justice system. From the police to our judges, something needs to be done. Our cells are a death trap,” he said.
The opposition leader also thanked a number of opposition leaders under the opposition alliance who supported him during his incarceration.
Mr Hichilema also thanked the UPND members of Parliament who were suspended from Parliament.
“I want to thank the Church leaders for their prayers and encouragement. I also wish to thank the opposition alliance leaders, it is befitting to single them out. Mr Charles Milupi, my brother Dr Nevers Mumba, my brother Honourable Mulongoti, my brother Savior Chishimba, I am glad you are out of prison and you are here. Peter Sinkamba, Honourable Wynter Kabimba, my brother who got incarcerated for talking about my case, brother Tayali and others in the opposition who didn’t have the opportunity My colleagues in the business community where doing a lot of things in the background. I know you know your business will be better under our leadership.”
The UPND leader who spent 127 days in jail also thanked his wife Mutinta and described her a strong woman.
“Allow me to most importantly thank my wife, I didn’t know she was this strong. I am lucky I married this woman. God bless Zambia, we shall take leave now Be patient in the next few days, full blown press briefing where we will address fundamental issues,” he said.
Meanwhile, jubilation erupted moments after Mr Hichilema was released with UPND members thronging the streets of Lusaka in dance and song.
Those who had converged at Lusaka’s Central Prison burnt into singing while some cried after Mr Hichilema emerged from the prison gates.
They formed a convoy of vehicles and escorted the UPND leader through the streets of Lusaka up to the Secretariat in Rhodespark where they were addressed by Mr Hichilema and Vice President Geoffrey Mwamba.
In his speech, Mr Mwamba said the UPND is not a tribal party and called for members to remain united the way they have been from the time Mr Hichilema was detained.
He said the UPND is a much stronger party which he said will outlive the PF.
Mr Bwalya further appealed to UPND members to speak out and defend the country’s democracy.
“We don’t want little dictators to kill our democracy. They have brought tension in this country. They did not need to arrest HH. Just because he was received as a President in Mongu,” he said.
Mr Mwamba declared that he is ready to be arrested today for speaking out against the wrongs taking place under the PF administration.
“You can use Article 31 if you want, come and arrest me in the night,” he said.
Mr. Hichilema and five others were freed by Ndola High Court Judge Charles Chanda after the state prosecutor dropped treason charges against him.
“The DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) has decided to terminate these proceedings by virtue of her constitutional powers. Therefore, you’re hereby discharged,” said Judge Chanda.