And South African opposition Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said that his party does not associate with Hichilema because he is an opposition party president but because they share similar ideals.
Addressing a media briefing at the DA headquarters, Hichilema apologized to Maimane who was turned away at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport at the time the UPND president was in detention.
Hichilema said that the reason he had ended up in jail was because of the grievances he had over the August 2016 elections that President Edgar Lungu won.
“If your petition has not been heard, how can the issue of recognition arise? The petition was not heard, how can the issue of recognition arise? If someone wants recognition let the petition be heard. A coin has two sides,” he said.
Hichilema said that he was not afraid for his life as he was aware that raising matters on corruption did not sit well with the people that held power.
The UPND leader said that he was locked away in prison not because he committed a crime but that the authorities wanted to punish him for continuously disputing the outcome of the elections.
Hichilema thanked the DA and other personalities that kept his detention in the public light.
The UPND leader paid tribute to the international media for having extensively covered his detention.
He said that many of his supporters remained in various prisons across the country on alleged trumped up charges.
“We are not free just because we are out of jail, there are many of our supporters who remain in many prisons and are being arrested everyday on trumped up charges. These too need help,” he said.
Earlier Hichilema addressed DA members of parliament after they sought to understand his background.
And Maimane said that his party was building a network of political parties in the region that will be tied by their belief in constitutionalism.
“I do not stand in solidarity with Hichilema because he in opposition but our partnership stands for constitutionalism, rule of law and other freedoms that are constitutional. If you value these ideals it does not matter if you are in the opposition or outside,” he said.