Lusaka- Zambia (PANA) -- Former Labour minister Edith Nawakwi, who is currently member of the opposition Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD), has been charged with defamation against Zambian President Frederick Chiluba and would appear in court on Friday.
Police briefly held Nawakwi on Wednesday before she was formally charged but later released on police bond.
She is jointly charged with independent Post newspaper journalist Bivan Saluseki.
According to the charges levelled against Nawakwi and Saluseki, the duo are accused of having uttered on 15 July and caused the publishing of an article defaming President Chiluba.
The article, published in the 16 July edition of the Post with the headline: "Chiluba is a thief", claimed that Chiluba had allowed his ministers to steal and later shared with them.
But Nawakwi and Saluseki have both denied the charge and are due to appear in court on Friday.
Meanwhile, former vice-president Christon Tembo, who is vice chairman of the FDD, has asked Chiluba to refrain from the unjustified arrests of citizens.
Tembo dismissed the arrest as mere vendetta and intimidation by Chiluba's government against opposition politicians.
"It's clearly a vendetta after the MMD (the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy) lost the recent Chawama by-elections," the local press quoted Tembo as saying.
The FDD has accused Chiluba's government of intimidating the opposition during the run-up to the presidential and general elections through arrests on "false" charges.
President Chiluba sacked Nawakwi and several other cabinet ministers last May for campaigning against his bid to run for a third term of office in contravention of the constitution.