UPDATE 2-Zambian opposition leader charged with trying to overthrow government

Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:07pm GMT

* Hakainde Hichilema, President Lungu are longtime foes

* Opposition contends last year's election was rigged

* IMF deal worth possible $1.2 bln imminent, presidency says (Adds expected IMF deal, details)

By Chris Mfula

LUSAKA, April 18 (Reuters) - Zambia opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema, arrested last week on suspicion of treason, was charged in a magistrate's court on Tuesday with trying to overthrow the government.

Relations between the government and opposition have been raw since last August, when President Edgar Lungu's Patriotic Front (PF) party beat Hichilema's United Party for National Development (UPND) in a vote the opposition says was rigged.

Police in Africa's No. 2 copper-producing country raided Hichilema's house on April 11 to arrest him and he was initially charged with treason for obstructing Lungu's motorcade.

In court on Tuesday, he was charged with treason in that "(he together with other persons did prepare or endeavoured to overthrow by unlawful means the government" between Oct. 10 last year and April 8 this year.

The charge in the motorcade incident was changed to disobeying instructions from a police officer by failing to give way to a presidential motorcade and using insulting language.   Continued...

Powered by Reuters AlertNet. AlertNet provides news, images and insight from the world's disasters and conflicts and is brought to you by Reuters Foundation.