Friday 26 May 2017 – In stark contrast to our Africa Day report; ‘Support for Zambian Opposition Leader’s Trial on Africa Day‘ South Africa’s Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, Mmusi Maimane, has been forcefully prevented from entering the Republic of Zambia, by Zambian Police who boarded his arriving SAA flight upon touchdown at Lusaka Airport last night. Header image credit: The Citizen.
Upon arrival Zambian Police boarded the aircraft, aggressively confronted Maimane, and took his private cell phone from his possession.
The DA Leader was arriving in Zambia, on Africa Day, to attend and observe the treason trial of Zambian Opposition Leader Hakainde Hichilema, which is due to convene today at 11:30 AM at the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court. Maimane was en route to the court to show support to Hichilema who is being unduly persecuted by his government, and to show the DA’s commitment to a human-rights based foreign policy.
Maimane had strongly denounced the trumped up charges against Hichilema and had condemned the ANC government for not yet taking a stand against Hichilema’s treason charges.
“We have taken this matter up urgently with the Ministry of International Relations, and we expected that they would dispatch South African Diplomats to Kenneth Kaunda Airport immediately. The South Africa government has the right and the duty to issue a demarche or diplomatic order, and we expected that they would do so,” said DA National Spokesperson Phumzile Van Damme.
“It is a deeply shameful day for the Republic of Zambia when a Leader of the Opposition from South Africa cannot pass freely into the country – especially on Africa Day. But we will not be deterred. The Republic of Zambia is a regional partner of the Republic of South Africa and their treatment of our country’s Leader of the Opposition flies in the face of these relations on Africa Day.”
DA Leader Maimane is expected to address the media outside the Embassy of Zambia on 570 Ziervogel Street, Pretoria at 10:30 AM today.