By Bright Chikele:
HAKAINDE Hichilema on Friday shocked diplomats when he went ballistic before arrogantly refusing to sign the peace treaty prepared by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) on account among other demands that the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has closed The Post Newspaper which owes the State K53 million in tax debts.
Mr Hichilema is reported to have exhibited the highest levels of disrespect to diplomats including United Nations Regional Coordinator Janet Rogan, Commonwealth Special Advisor on Political Dialogue Professor Ibrahim Gambari, President Edgar Lungu and ECZ chairperson Justice Essau Chulu.
Mr Hichilema, who was among other political party leaders that attended the ECZ presidential candidates’ meeting on Friday, became hysterical and exhibited
pomposity and was dismissive of Justice Chulu, Ambassadors Rogan and Gambari forcing President Lungu to call the opposition leader to order.
Sources that attended the ECZ presidential candidates meeting have revealed to the Daily Nation that Mr Hichilema was rude to diplomats and other leaders from political parties much to the shock of envoys and the ECZ.
The sources said Mr Hichilema is said to have accused President Lungu of having closed The Post Newspaper and he declined to sign the Peace Accord and vowed that he would only sign the peace treaty if the newspaper was opened.
The sources said one of the diplomats was heard wondering whether Mr Hichilema wanted the August general elections to be held under his terms and not according to the laws and rules governing the electoral process.
“Mr Hichilema walked into the ECZ presidential candidates’ meeting with pomposity and an air of arrogance.
He was dismissive of every one including Janet Rogan, the UN Resident Coordinator, Pro Ibrahim Gambari, the Commonwealth Special Advisor on Political Dialogue as well as President Lungu. He literally abused everyone and President Lungu realised it was getting out of hand and called Mr Hichilema to order.
The diplomats were utterly shocked and Ms Rogan was heard wondering whether Mr Hichilema wanted the elections to be held under his terms. He even refused to sign the Peace Accord because ZRA had closed The Post Newspaper,” the sources said.
The sources said Mr Hichilema also demanded that the ECZ should guarantee his campaign rallies before he could sign the peace treaty effectively refusing to renounce violence for which the UPND has been accused of perpetrating.