It is not clear why he sounded the warning, but it comes in the aftermath of several recent coups in Francophone Africa and complaints at home about the rising cost of living.
“To colleagues that think, we are timid by being kind and that they can break the laws and entertain thoughts of illegal takeover of government including undemocratic coup d’état… we are coming for you,” he said.
Since gaining independence in 1964, Zambia has never experienced military rule, though there have been several foiled coup attempts.
Hichilema, who won a landslide victory over an incumbent president in 2021, made the remarks on a visit to Kanyama, a suburb of the capital, Lusaka.
He acknowledged food prices were high and said the government was addressing the issue.
On Facebook on Monday evening after his Kanyama visit, the president wrote that this included stopping maize grown in Zambia being smuggled into other countries and ensuring millers charged a fair price.
On Tuesday, Zambian police summoned former first lady Esther Lungu “for the purpose of interviews” at 10AM on Wednesday, September 6. It remains unclear why she has attracted police interest.
Her husband, former president Edgar Lungu, travelled to Zimbabwe on Sunday ahead of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inauguration on Monday.
Mnangagwa, who came to power in 2017 through a military coup, appeared to invite Lungu out of spite after Hichilema boycotted the event. Hichilema, the current chair of the SADC troika, deployed election observers who concluded that the poll did not meet regional and international standards. – BBC/Staff Reporter