Zambian opposition leader accuses UN representative of bias

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JOHANNESBURG, May 30 – Zambia opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema, leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND), has written to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) associate administrator and regional director for Africa, accusing its representative in the country of being biased towards the ruling Patriotic Front (PF).

In his letter to Tegegnework Gettu, Hichilema reminded the latter of his earlier concerns to UN Secretary-General António Guterres in which he expressed displeasure at “the lack of impartiality displayed over time by Janet Rogan, the UNDP’s Programme Coordinator in Zambia in the execution of her duties”, the Zambian Observer reported on Wednesday.

Hichilema claims Rogan was aware of serious threats to his life and aware that Zambia was highly polarised, preventing credible elections from taking place in April but she had ignored this situation and declared the elections free and fair instead of allowing them to be validated by the judiciary.

A leaked email in 2017 revealed that Rogan had told the United Nations headquarters in New York that Hichilema would be taken out of public visibility, regardless of court proceedings.

The April 11 email was sent to Valeria de Campos Mello, Senior Political Affairs Officer at the UN headquarters, the same day that Hichilema was arrested for allegedly blocking President Edgar Lungu’s motorcade and subsequently charged with treason for endangering the president’s life.

Rogan’s email stated that Hichilema had deliberately disobeyed police orders to drive faster to make way for President Lungu, instead of slowing down in order to impede the head of state from driving past him.

– African News Agency (ANA)