Zambia refuses entry to PLO Lumumba for 'security' reasons

Saturday September 29 2018

Law professor Patrick Lumumba. Media in Zambia said Mr Lumumba was sent back by Immigration officials shortly after landing at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Kenyan law professor PLO Lumumba was on Saturday prevented from entering Zambia by the country’s immigration authorities.

A twitter post by Zambia’s Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services and Chief Government Spokesperson, Ms Dora Siliya, said Mr Lumumba was denied entry “due to security considerations".


“[The government, through the] immigration [department] has denied entry into Zambia of Prof Patrick Lumumba, a Kenyan national, due to security considerations. Immigration is a security wing working with agencies within and beyond Zambia,” the minister said.

Media in Zambia said Mr Lumumba was sent back by Immigration officials shortly after landing at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka.

According to Lusaka Times, he “was due to deliver a public lecturer on China-Africa relations on Saturday night at Eden University".


The topic was ‘Africa in the age of China influence and global geo-dynamics’.

Sunday Nation could not reach the lawyer, a former director of the anti-corruption commission, for his comment on the matter.

Prof Lumumba was in the team of lawyers who represented the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in the presidential election petition, which was eventually nullified.

He was derided for his presentation in defence of the manner in which the IEBC conducted the elections. He also came under social media attack from supporters of the National Super Alliance.


The talk by Mr Lumumba, director of the Kenya School of Laws, followed growing anger at Beijing's grip on the economy of the southern African nation.

Despite being denied entry, Prof Lumumba said he was treated "with appropriate dignity."

"I pose threat to no one. I travel all over Africa," he said.

China is the main investor in Zambia as it is in several other African countries and with its offers of "unconditional" aid, most public tenders are awarded to Chinese bidders.

In Lusaka and across the country, China is busy constructing airports, roads, factories and police stations with the building boom largely funded by Chinese loans.


Zambian public debt is officially around $10.6 billion but suspicions have grown in recent months that the government is hiding its indebtedness -- as happened in neighbouring Mozambique, which in 2016 was forced to admit it had kept secret $2 billion of borrowing.

Fearing that Zambia might be in a similar position, the International Monetary Fund at one point delayed talks over a $1.3 billion loan deal.

Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe has insisted that in the first half of 2018 $342 million was paid in interest to creditors, of which 53 percent were commercial sector -- and only 30 percent of which were Chinese.

But the country's main opposition party has put China's debt dominance at the forefront of its campaign to unseat the government.