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Zambia's Opposition Defies President's Warning of Treason Charges

Zambia's main opposition leader has defied a warning from President Levy Mwanawasa that opponents of his plan to amend the constitution could face treason charges.

Michael Sata, leader of the Patriotic Front party, said Thursday that he will continue denouncing Zambia's National Constitutional Conference as a fraud even if all his party members get arrested.

President Mwanawasa said Tuesday that those who continue to obstruct constitutional reform will be arrested and charged with treason.

He also said that the act authorizing the National Constitutional Conference was law.

Some opponents have said they will boycott the conference, claiming it is dominated by the president and his Movement for Multi-Party Democracy.

The Zambian newspaper The Post also quoted Heritage Party leader General Godfrey Miyanda as saying he would not succumb to President Mwanawasa's threats.

Sata lost to Mr. Mwanawasa in Zambia's 2006 elections, but his party won municipal polls in the capital, Lusaka, and the country's industrial heartland.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.