Zambian Police forcefully prevent DA Leader Maimane entering Zambia on Africa Day
In stark contrast to the spirit of Africa Day today, an act akin to the tactics of the Apartheid government has occurred at Lusaka Airport this evening, which we call on the South African government to strongly condemn and expect swift intervention.
DA Leader Mmusi Maimane, a Constitutional Office Bearer of South Africa, has this evening been forcefully prevented from entering the Republic of Zambia, by Zambian Police who boarded his arriving SAA flight upon touchdown.
The DA Leader was arriving in Zambia, on Africa Day, to attend and observe the treason trial of Zambian Opposition Leader Hakainde Hichilema tomorrow at the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court. Mr Maimane was en route there to show support to Mr Hichilema who is being unduly persecuted by his government, and to show the DA’s commitment to a human-rights based foreign policy.
Mr Maimane had strongly denounced the trumped up charges against Hichilema, and had condemned the ANC government for not yet taking a stand against his treason charges.
Upon arrival Zambian Police boarded the aircraft, aggressively confronted Maimane, and have taken his private cell phone from his possession.
We have taken this matter up urgently with the Ministry of International Relations, and we expect that they will 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 expect that they will do so.
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 today of our country’s Leader of the Opposition flies in the face of these relations on Africa Day.
DA Leader Maimane will address the media on his return to South Africa. It is unclear at this stage at what time he will return.
A press briefing will be announced imminently.
This will not deter the DA from our objectives of fostering a culture of democracy and human rights in South Africa and in the region.
The DA is committed to seeing improved protections of human rights for all. Until every person has the same protections in terms of the law we will not be free as people on the African continent.
Statement issued by Phumzile Van Damme, DA National Spokesperson, 25 May 2017