The supporters, according to videos circulating on social media, accused Zanu PF functionaries, including secretary for finance Patrick Chinamasa, of trying to destabilise its northern neighbour.
Hichilema, who is the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Troika on Politics, Defence and Security chairperson, deployed former Zambian Vice-President Nevers Mumba to head the region’s observer mission to Zimbabwe’s elections last month.
The Sadc Troika is a group established to respond swiftly to political emergencies in the region.
Mumba’s Sadc election observer mission released a damning report stating that the Zimbabwean elections did not meet democratic standards set by the region and the international community.
Hichilema boycotted Mnangagwa’s inauguration held at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on Monday last week.
Mnangagwa, instead, invited Hichilema’s predecessor and foe, Edgar Lungu, to his inauguration.
Since the damning report, officials in Harare have gone on overdrive trying to discredit Hichilema and Mumba, who they have described as “Western puppets”, which has soured relations between the two nations formerly joined at the hip in the colonial era as Southern and Northern Rhodesia.
UPND secretary-general Batuke Imenda confirmed the protests to NewsDay in a telephone interview saying: “Yes, there were some protests, but I am very sick, I am admitted to a hospital in the Eastern province.”
UPND party spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa was not answering his mobile phone.
The protesters targeted Chinamasa and a South Africa-based Zanu PF sympathiser, Rutendo Matinyarare, accusing them of allegedly planning to eliminate the Zambian President.
They were singing in Bemba saying leave “our President alone”.
Dozens of Hichilema supporters marched in Ndola, chanting slogans and carrying placards with messages denouncing the alleged interference by Zanu PF in Zambia’s internal affairs.
Some of the placards read: “We want to know why you wanted to kill President Hakainde Hichilema as alleged in your statement.”
Another poster read: “We demand an explanation on how President Levy Mwanawasa was killed.”
The protesters also accused Zanu PF of providing financial and logistical support to the Patriotic Front (PF) led by Lungu in an attempt to eliminate Hichilema.
“PF, you went to Zimbabwe to instigate foreigners to harm HH,” read another placard.
Another one posed the question: “Did you kill Mwanawasa? Are you planning to do the same on HH?”
Other protesters held posters emblazoned: “Kekeni bapresident besu benka (leave our President alone.”
Zanu PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa referred NewsDay to Chinamasa.
Chinamasa was not picking calls.
However, in a long-winding thread on X (formerly Twitter), which was picked by the Zambian Observer newspaper, Chinamasa accused Mwanawasa of working with “imperialists” to effect regime change in Harare.
He also accused Hichilema and Mumba of trying to revive the regime change agenda of the late Mwanawasa.
“For those who don’t know the late Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, let me fill you in about him. During his tenure of office as Zambian President, he became the darling of Western countries and, cheered on by these sanctions-imposing countries, became very hostile towards Zimbabwe and Zanu PF,” Chinamasa wrote.
He also accused Mwanawasa of working in cahoots with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
“He (Mwanawasa) had agreed to a Tony Blair proposal to use Zambia as a base for British military forces to launch a military offensive against Zimbabwe with a view to reversing the land redistribution programme and effecting regime change.
“Mumba is a complete disgrace and an embarrassment to the region and the African continent as a whole. It was very unwise and unpolitic for President Hichilema as head of Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security to appoint Mumba, a lackey of imperialism and neocolonialism with a known regime change background (against Zanu PF), to come and observe Zimbabwe’s harmonised elections.” NewsDay