BREBNER Changala has challenged President Edgar Lungu to explain the 2018 Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) trends report that revealed terrorism financing in Zambia.
And NDC vice-president Josephs Akafumba says State House’s defence of President Lungu’s link to a Rwandan rebel group is not satisfactory.
On Monday this week, a terror suspect told a Rwandan Court that President Lungu was financing rebel activities against that government.
Callixte Nsabimana aka Major Sankara who claimed to be the head of Rwanda rebel group National Liberation Force (NLF) told the judge at the International and Cross-Border Crimes in Nyanza, a district in southern Rwanda that President Lungu helped rebel factions to attack Rwanda.
NLF is a military wing of a Rwanda opposition political party, the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change led by Rwandan dissident Paul Rusesabagina, known for protecting people during 1994’s Rwandan genocide as a manager of Hotel des Mille Collines.
But in a three-paragraph statement on Tuesday, State House dismissed Nsabimana’s testimony.
“State House noted with great dismay reports in the local and international media of the alleged submission made to Rwanda’s High Court for International and Cross-Border Crimes that His Excellency, Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia allegedly provided financial resources to a named Rwandan organisation to launch attacks in Rwanda,” said President Lungu’s special assistant for press and public relations Isaac Chipampe. “State House would like to categorically refute these claims and wishes to state unequivocally that these allegations are FALSE and must be treated with the contempt they deserve. The governments and peoples of Zambia and Rwanda continue to enjoy strong and fraternal relations founded on mutual respect and a common purpose based on shared values and principles.”
Meanwhile, on page 21 of the 2018 FIC trends report under Case 3: Suspected Terrorist Financing, reads: “Two foreign nationals X and Y incorporated company D in Zambia. Company D held bank accounts with bank B. Mr. X requested the bank to amend his name, date of birth and nationality. Upon receipt of this request, the bank performed customer due diligence and adverse information on the new credentials was revealed. The new name was linked to a terrorist group in Country Q within Africa. Mr. X made multiple forex purchases using his company account to fund his travel from Zambia to the African Country where terrorist activities are rampant. The forex purchases by Mr. X were suspected to be funding terrorist activities in Country Q.
The matter was disseminated to competent authorities for further investigation.”
Commenting on Nsabimana’s testimony, Changala, a good governance and human rights, said there were a lot of questions President Lungu needed to answer.
“Thanks must go to the Financial Intelligence Centre who expressed their findings in their 2018 report that money from this country was used to sponsor terrorism elsewhere. The happenings in Rwanda where a coup plotter has disclosed the planned overthrow of a democratically elected government of Major Paul Kagame with ‘full financial support from the President of the Republic of Zambia’ makes very sad reading,” he said. “There are a lot of questions President Edgar Chagwa Lungu needs to answer in this coincidence of things. First of all, he is not going to distance himself from this using a three or four-line statement; it’s not enough. Let him tell us, how much does he know that rebel group? Has he ever met them on Zambian soil? Has he ever sent them any money, either directly or through proxies? There is no smoke without fire.”
Changala wondered why Nsabimana singled out President Lungu when there were so many African leaders.
“How can a coup plotter single out one Edgar Chagwa Lungu out of 53 countries in Africa? These are the legitimate questions he needs to answer. We know that our President is very rich, and we know this through his lifestyle. We also know that his Cabinet is very rich, through their lifestyles,” Changala said. “But to endanger our lives through selfish manoeuvres is utter recklessness. We need serious explanations on why our State House should be used as a centre of anarchy through regional destabilisation. Zambia has been known to be a sanctuary of all displaced people and refuges for ages. And today, Zambia will be known to be a centre of destabilisation! I challenge him to come out in the open and face the people, not issuing press statements.”
He accused President Lungu of damaging the image of the country’s presidency.
“President Edgar Chagwa Lungu has managed to damage the presidency; he has really reduced it to rubbles. He has brought the name and reputation of our Republic into ridicule. He has taken the name of Zambia into a scandalous state of affairs. Never in our history has a president been a terrorism suspect,” said Changala.
And NDC vice-president Josephs Akafumba said State House’s defence of President Lungu was not satisfactory.
Akafumba said the Rwanda issue is a threat to Zambia’s security.
“There is no way a rebel or militia leader will just mention a name of a president. We have the right to full information of President Edgar Lungu’s involvement in Rwanda. We need to know where these rebels had set up camp here in Zambia,” demanded Akafumba. “I also suspect that is why some PF thugs have arms and military-like uniforms, they could have been part of the militia group. State House needs to give us concrete explanations and not what they have so far issued.”