Katumbi free to come to Zambia, says Kampyongo

Home Affairs minister Steven Kampyongo says his ministry is “content” with a budgetary allocation of K2,865,505, 045 for its 2019 operations.

And Kampyongo has claimed that he did not overrule the police command when he granted civil society organisations (CSOs) permission to peacefully demonstrate outside Parliament buildings last Friday.

Meanwhile, Kampyongo says Congolese politician Moїse Chapwe Katumbi is free to come into Zambia, unless the Congolese government declares him a persona non grata.

Speaking when he featured on ZNBC TV’s Sunday Interview programme, Kampyongo said: “I may not say we’ve gotten what we would have wanted but we are content with what the Ministry of Finance has provided.”

“This time around, they (the Ministry of Finance) were as consultative as it should be. We all participated in the process of that budget the Minister [of Finance] delivered. We are content with what they’ve given us and we are going to ensure that we perform our mandate within what has been given to us. Mind you, we also contribute; we are one of the ministries that contribute significantly to the treasury through non-tax revenue,” Kampyongo explained.

“If you heard the President when he was opening Parliament, he did mention how much we have doubled the figures in terms of what we are contributing from Immigration Department after automating the operations. We have a system which we are calling Zambia immigration management system, which system is now ensuring that all the processing of Visas and all the various national documents are done through the smart solutions.”

On him overruling the police to allow CSOs to protest outside Parliament buildings during the national budget presentation, Kampyongo ‘contextualised’ the issue.

Police had initially denied CSOs permission to protest but after an appeal to Kampyongo, the minister “overruled” the decision and advised the demonstrators to observe law and order.

“I want to put the context very clearly that it was not overruling the police. The police were well premised when they said they wanted to focus on making sure that the presentation of the budget went [on] incident-free and they had suggested to those that wanted to picket to have another day on which they could do that. So, consensus was reached to say that maybe get those people who were asking to be given some space…. They (CSOs activists) are civil people and they have to justify to those that are funding them. Mind you, they have those where they go to ask for resources. When you see them clad in T – shirts, it means someone is funding them to do that. We want to create as much space as we can for every stakeholder who operates within the confinements of the law,” Kampyongo said.

Asked whether or not citizens, going forward, should expect to see more space insofar as enjoying their civil liberties [is concerned], Kampyongo replied: “That has been the desire!”

“Even when you look at the public order Act itself, that has been the desire. I mean, people have had meetings; we have had campaigns, we have had elections in Lusaka here…. But what is important is to make sure that rights for everyone are observed because where your rights start could be where my rights end. If there is no management of that, we may end up in conflict,” he noted.

“This decision [to allow budget demonstrations] was made within the structures of the [police] command. You didn’t see any letter coming from the minister’s office! The appeal should have gone to the Inspector General [and] when the Inspector General feels he can’t make a decision, then those concerned people that requested for space can appeal to the minister. So, there was nothing like overruling [because] the whole channel was not even exhausted.”

On public assumption, especially on social media, that Katumbi used a Zambian diplomatic passport to enter the country in August and whether such a passport was legally issued to him, Kampyongo said: “The answer is no.”

“We need to find a way of dealing with this social media speculation. We as government cannot jump to start reacting to concoctions like that which were generated from social media. First of all, we needed to do an internal check and see if there was any truth in those allegations. I want to place it on record and the Zambian people must know this; Mr Moїse Katumbi had lived in Zambia. He was on the Copperbelt and on the Copperbelt he was in business activities and I’m reliably informed that he must have some properties there. Just like any other Congolese, he if free to come to this country, unless the Congolese government where he is a citizen gives [him] what is [called] persona non grata (in diplomacy, a persona non grata is a foreign person whose entering or remaining in a particular country is prohibited by that country’s government),” Kampyongo highlighted.

“We have got bilateral relations with the Democratic Republic of Congo, just like we have got with other SADC States. We meet annually through what we call joint permanent commissions where we deal with security matters, political matters and defence issues. In the absence of that communication, Moїse Katumbi is free to come here. He could be an interested party in terms of [being a] presidential candidate but this government can do nothing – it can’t impose him on the people of Congo. So, he came here as a free citizen of Congo, as far as we know. We have communicated with the Congolese Embassy Zambia.”

He dismissed allegations that Katumbi entered into Zambia using a Zambian passport.

“Coming to the issue of the passport, if indeed it was true [that] he was given a passport, how can he then use his Congolese passport to enter Zambia and exit Zambia? I was telling you that immigrations systems are now automated; when you exit Zambia, your details will be captured. It will show what time, what flight…. Mr Moїse Katumbi travelled to Zambia using a Congolese passport, which even the Embassy [of the DRC] has been able to acknowledge that it’s an official ordinary passport. Immigration details show that] he flew in with a private jet…. He was accompanied by five other Congolese. So, those insinuations were unfounded. But of course, there are these opposition characters who want to find a way of getting support from the Congolese government. On Moїse Katumbi, as far as we are concerned, he can come into this country and go!” he said.

Kampyongo indicated also that Zimbabwe’s opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Tendai Biti was denied entry into Zambia in August and not deported.

“As I speak to you, we have a large number of people who came here as refugees. Some of them we are even integrating them because that’s what we have been as Zambians. But what we are not going to do is to permit sanctuary to someone who has broken the law and who is supposed to go through the due process of the law. That we can’t do, just like any other country can’t and that’s what determines sovereignty of the State. That’s why you see us every year meeting with other countries; it’s always to discuss ‘how do we enhance good neighbourliness by allowing people to move freely and also checking on the undesired elements?’” noted Kampyongo.

“The Immigrations Department which regulates the movement of people in and out of the country has got laws. Their Act No. 18, Immigration and Deportation Act of 2010, stipulates how a person should come in – those that want to come in to look for employment….”

Source: The Mast

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