Lusaka – Zambia’s opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has increased pressure on newly-elected President Edgar Lungu to step down, claiming that he was using state machinery to effect a coup d’état in the country.
The opposition leader made his utterances in the wake of a petition that was filed by his United Party for National Development (UPND) on Friday, citing that there were several irregularities during the country’s presidential elections on August 11.
Reports on Monday indicated that the inauguration of Lungu had been halted pending a constitutional court ruling on the poll results.
Lungu defeated the long-time opposition leader by just less than 200 000 votes, to clinch another presidential term.
According to The Post, Hichilema alleged that Lungu was preventing National Assembly Speaker Patrick Matibini from acting as president of the southern African country. He said Matibini was mandated to act as president.
Despite not having been sworn in as president, Lungu has refused to step down, with Hichilema claiming that Lungu is acting to maintain his power over the military and police.
“So basically, he has effected a coup d’état on the person who is constitutionally mandated to be acting president. There is no better way to explain what Lungu has done; its a coup on Dr Patrick Matibini, the Speaker of National Assembly. Lungu started this coup d’état through a democratic process, a long time ago, and now he has gone full throttle to usurp power illegally,” Hichilema was quoted as saying.