UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has said he is not inciting youths to rise up against President Edgar Lungu’s administration, ahead of planned protests against government suppression of freedom of speech.

Speaking to SABC TV on Wednesday evening, Mr Hichilema argued that Zambia’s youth did not need to be incited by anyone as they were already feeling the worst consequences of President Lungu’s misrule.

“What we have is a situation where our young people feel cheated. They feel used and pretty much dumped. There is no one who is inciting them to protest, they do not to be incited by anyone. These are adults, they gave low transitioned into adulthood and they are able to make up their own minds,” Mr Hichilema said.

Mr Hichilema’s comments come after widespread backlash against President Lungu’s support for Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo, who threatened musicians Kings Malembe Malembe, and Brian Bwembya (popularly known as B-Flow) after the pair allegedly insulted the president.

In response, young people, civil society organisations and political parties have planned to protest in support of free speech in Lusaka on 22nd June – a move which has been condemned by the government and the police force.

During his interview, Mr Hichilema condemned government officials for attempting to stifle freedom of speech and said that Minister Lusambo’s threats against young people had been uncalled for.

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