Zambian opposition leader Chilufya Tayali was on Tuesday given a stern warning against inciting mutiny even as he was still being detained by security forces.
The warning came following heightened pressure by the opposition and civil society who have been calling for his release. If charged with inciting mutiny and convicted, he could face life imprisonment.
Mr Tayali, of the Economic and Equity Party, was picked up on Monday over statements he made about security forces.
During a press briefing in the capital Lusaka, Mr Tayali alleged that the government has not paid military personnel who served in a recent peacekeeping mission.
“Mr Tayali, between March 2022 and April 2nd, 2022 in Lusaka, using social media, did seduce persons serving in the Defence Force and Zambia Police Service from their duty of allegiance to the Republican President,” said a statement issued by Police Spokesperson Rea Hamoonga.
He is also accused of receiving an official classified Zambia Army message in contravention of the State Security Act and later circulating the document on social media using his Facebook page.
Opposition critics said they are concerned that the country is regressing on its human rights track record despite promises made by President Hakainde Hichilema during his 2021 election campaign that his administration would respect human rights.
Critics said the arrest of opposition members, especially those from the former governing party Patriotic Front, was meant to gag and intimidate them.
Hichilema ran on the ticket of the United Party for National Development.