Mmusi Maimane, the Democratic Alliance leader was deported from Zambia. On arrival, Zambian Police forces and immigration stormed his plane. They also confiscated his phone as he tried to make some calls.

The country’s High Commissioner Emmanuel Mwamba said the DA leader was deported because he intended pressurising the courts to release Hakainde Hichilema.

Mwamba claimed that Maimane’s comments about Hichilema, who is on trial for treason, were problematic as he intended to mobilise Zambian opposition parties.

Mwamba said that Maimane’s presence was going to undermine the sanctity, integrity and independence of the judiciary.

The DA leader was refused entry into Zambia on Thursday evening after he landed at Lusaka International Airport to support Hichilema, leader of the opposition United Party for National Development, who goes on trial on Friday.

The maximum sentence for treason in Zambia is death.

Maimane said that Hichilema was violently arrested over six weeks ago for allegedly attempting to block Zambian President Edgar Lungu’s motorcade. The violent nature of his arrest, and the inhumane treatment that Hichilema has received in detention, confirms the political motives behind these charges.