Zambia Opposition Denies Burning Buildings as Emergency Weighed

(Bloomberg) -- Zambia’s main opposition party denied it set buildings ablaze last week, as President Edgar Lungu considers imposing a state of emergency to quell unrest in Africa’s second-biggest copper producer.

“We are not responsible for the fires,” United Party for National Development Chairwoman Mutale Nalumango told reporters Sunday in the capital, Lusaka.

Fires have been reported at courthouses in Lusaka and the towns of Kabwe, Mongu and Monze, while markets have been burned in Lusaka and the southern town of Choma in the days since UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema was arrested April 12 and charged with treason. Hichilema was detained after a convoy he was traveling in failed to pull off the road for Lungu’s motorcade.

Hichilema first appeared in court on April 18, with proceedings adjourned three times. His next appearance is set for April 26. Treason suspects aren’t allowed bail and the maximum penalty is death.