LUSAKA, April 15 (Xinhua) -- Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Saturday warned diplomats not to interfere in the country's internal affairs.
Various local media quoted the Zambian leader warning the diplomats in the wake of the arrest of the country's leading opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema who has been charged with treason, a move that has heightened tension in the southern African nation.
The United States (US) and the European Union (EU) have issued statements expressing concern over the heightened political tension in the country.
The News Diggers, a local online publication quoted the Zambian leader warning the diplomats not to meddle in the affairs of the country as Zambia was a sovereign state.
"Let me warn those who are accredited to Zambia as diplomats, those who run civil society organizations, who believe that I can interfere with the process, that they are wasting their time," the Zambian leader is quoted as saying.
"I want the diplomats to hear me loud and clear that they will not interfere with our sovereign matters here in Zambia. They came to represent their countries not to interfere in our governance, please," he added.
Lungu said he could not interfere in the matter and that the law should be allowed to take its course.
Hichilema, who narrowly lost to Lungu in last year's presidential election and has refused to recognize the Zambian leader as winner as he believes the vote was stolen, was arrested last Wednesday and charged with four counts, among them treason, together with five other party supporters.
His party said he may appear in court on Tuesday and 20 lawyers have been arranged to defend him.