By Staff Reporter
HOME affairs minister Steven Kampyongo says Moses Katumbi is free to come to Zambia.
Speaking when he featured on ZNBC TV’s Sunday Interview programme, Kampyongo said Congolese politician Moїse Chapwe Katumbi was free to be in Zambia, unless the Congolese government declared him a non-persona-grata.
Kampyongo also disclosed that his ministry was content with a budgetary allocation of K2, 865, 505, 045 for its 2019 operations.
“This time around, they (Finance ministry) were as consultative as it should be. We all participated in the process of that budget the Minister delivered. We are content with that they’ve given us and we are going to ensure that we perform our mandate within what has been given to us,” Kampyongo explained.
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.”
“But again this is…. 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 is free to come to this country, unless the Congolese government where he is a citizen gives what is a non-persona-grata,” Kampyongo said.
“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 in 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, he was given a passport how can he then use his Congolese passport to enter Zambia and exit Zambia? I was telling you that immigration 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 has been able to acknowledge that it’s an official ordinary passport. 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 also said 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 doing 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,” noted Kampyongo.