Incarcerated opposition UPND president Hakainde Hichilema should brace himself for a long and hard road ahead. It is very clear that he will not be emerging from the bowels of incarceration anytime soon. The police have made their stand very clear that they will go through with their charge of treason which is non-bailable. There could be no consolation looking at the long list of distinguished citizens that have previously suffered the indignity of incarceration under the charge of treason. The state is unlikely to back down given that more distinguished citizens have been thrown in the dungeon without giving as much as the butt of an eye lid.
We mention a few here like Valentine Musakanya, a former Secretary to the Cabinet and Bank of Zambia who battled his innocence for 10 years after being linked to the 1980 coup d’état. Musakanya pleaded his innocence and was eventually acquitted after a long and arduous court process. Fast forward to the Frederick Chiluba regime that also shunted distinguished citizens like Dean Namulya Mung’omba then leader of the Zambia Democratic Congress, Inonge Wina and the biggest of them all Dr Kenneth Kaunda who was infamously thrown in jail on Christmas Day.
Former President Michael Sata was also to do 40 days in Chimbokaila after President Levy Mwanawasa fixed him with a non-bailable motor vehicle theft. No amount of lobbying and protests made the system budge until Sata was acquitted.
It is very clear that Hichilema may be in jail for the long haul as even the court process in Zambia takes an arduously slow process. This is something that Hichilema may have already come across during his legal battles in the court challenge for the election of President Edgar Lungu.
Even the writ of habeas corpus that he is seeking to invoke in the courts of law may just turn out to be an academic exercise.