March 4, 2016 / 3:02 PM / in 3 years

Zambian opposition leader arrested for inciting violence: police

LUSAKA (Reuters) - A leader of the main opposition party in Zambia was arrested on Friday on suspicion of proposing violence against President Edgar Lungu, police said, the latest sign of tension ahead of August elections.

Geoffrey Mwamba, vice-president of the United Party for National Development, was arrested for a verbal attack on Lungu this week in which he said he would “go for his throat”, police spokeswoman Charity Chanda said.

Police on Wednesday arrested and released Mwamba in another case in which he was accused of training party supporters to become an illegal militia.

“We have arrested Mr Mwamba for proposing violence. This is in connection with a statement he made proposing to cause death to the Republican President,” Chanda said.

The offense carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison, a lawyer said.

Last week, Lungu accused political opponents of training a militia to carry out violence during the elections. They denied the accusation.

Police last week said they had arrested 21 United Party for National Development supporters found training in a gym on Mwamba’s business premises, some with weapons such as machetes and with live ammunition.

Zambia is due to hold presidential, parliamentary and local government elections on Aug. 11. Lungu and United Party for National Development leader Hakainde Hichilema are seen as front runners in the presidential race.

Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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