South Africa’s opposition leader Mmusi Maimane has been denied entry into Zambia by immigration authorities.
Maimane arrived in Lusaka after 17:00 hours but he was not allowed to disembark the plane as immigration authorities told him that his presence was not needed.
His acting spokesperson Graham Charters has confirmed the development to eNCA news and said the party was unsure where Maimane was.
Charters said the action by the Zambian government clearly showed that the country was under an autocratic regime.
Earlier, the DA issued a statement that Maimane was to attend court tomorrow for UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema’s ruling in his treason case.
The Zambian government, through High Commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba, had issued a statement on Wednesday claiming that Maimane could not travel without a court ruling to allow him access to Hichilema.
Zambia’s decision to deport Maimane pushes the country to the bottom of civilised democracies in Africa.
Mumba, who is also vice chairman of the SADC Opposition Parties (SAPDC), said the Patriotic Front government’s denial of entry into Zambia of Maimane sadly showed that Zambia was isolating itself from the family of democratic and progressive nations.
A few minutes ago, the Patriotic Front government denied DA leader and Chairman of SAPDC, (the Southern Africa opposition party organization) Mmusi Maimane entry into Zambia. They stopped the delegation from (disembarking from the plane) and they forced the plane to fly back to South Africa,
We consider this action to be drastic, draconian and further pushes Zambia at the bottom of civilized democracies in Africa. MMD condemns this action and regrets that our nation is isolating itself from the family of democratic and progressive nations. This breach against South Africa shall injure our country in many ways. South Africa is our greatest trade partner and a member of the SADC family of nations. It is even more embarrassing to take such a desperate step on Africa Freedom Day.
He said the action was unfortunate as Maimane was scheduled to attend court in solidarity with incarcerated Hichilema.
Mr Mmusi Maimane had travelled to Zambia in order to attend court on Friday in solidarity with incarcerated leader of the UPND Hakainde Hichilema,
Mumba stated, adding,
This unfortunate action by the PF exposes their vulnerability and reveals their fears of being exposed to the outside world for their abuses of human rights. This breach will haunt PF for many years to come.