Maimane outraged after being barred from entering Zambia

Mmusi Maimane travelled to the country to attend the treason trial of Hakainde Hichilema, the detained president of Zambia's largest opposition party.

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane (C). Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN – Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane is outraged after being barred from entering Zambia.

Maimane travelled to the country to attend the treason trial of Hakainde Hichilema, the detained president of Zambia's largest opposition party.

The DA leader says he felt it was important to attend the trial as part of international solidarity and to stand with other opposition parties.

“Initially they said to me the party that is in government now said I was trying to create a circus out of their government. They communicated to say I was there to pressure their courts. There is no way I would say I was going to pressure their courts.”

Maimane says he's a very good friend of Hichilema and previously attempted to visit him in prison. Hichilema, however, did not have visitation rights.

Hichilema is a Zambian businessman and the leader of that country's main opposition party.

He's facing treason charges for failing to give way to a presidential motorcade as it ferried the Zambian president to a function last month.

Video footage shows Hichilema’s convoy jostling for space with President Edgar Lungu's vehicles.

It is alleged that Hichilema's actions put the president's life at risk, hence the treason charges.

Hichilema has contested five presidential elections in Zambia and lost each one.

The last election, in August last year, was marred by violence in the run-up to the vote. He is now the subject of a protracted court battle.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)