Zambia’s ruling party, the Patriotic Front, has labelled DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s ill-fated visit to that country as a “political clowning and a publicity stunt”.
In a statement released following Zambia’s decision to deny Maimane access to that country this week, Patriotic Front spokesperson Sunday Chanda said Maimane to the Southern African country just to rub Zambian authorities the wrong way.
Despite being warned that he would not be allowed in, Maimane still travelled to the country in a bid to attend the treason trial of jailed opposition leader Hakainde Hichelema.
He was subsequently stopped at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport and deported back to South Africa.
“The Patriotic Front is aware that South Africa’s Democratic Alliance (DA) – an alliance comprising of the country’s Colonial Rulers, is planning on travelling to Zambia on a political theatrical expedition; a mission which will be led by its black token Mmusi Maimane,” Chanda said.
He said to ensure that Maimane’s intended political clowning attracts the kind of publicity desired by his pay masters, he would travel with a media contingent.
“While we acknowledge that they (Maimane and Hichilema) have a duty to their masters/funders, we wish to make crystal clear that they will not turn Zambia into a circus while doing so. We thus wish to encourage Maimane to adhere to the guidance provided to him by the Zambian High Commission in South Africa. Furthermore, it is common knowledge that there is an explicit court order detailing who can visit the incarcerated Opposition leader and it would be rather unfortunate for Maimane to violate the prescripts of this order which will find him in conflict with the laws of our land,” Chanda said in the statement.
Chanda further added that they expected the DA to comply with the country’s requirements as failure to do so would prompt them to seek counsel from their Ministers of Information and Home Affairs respectively.
“We wish to reiterate that Zambia is not for sale to the highest bidder and society must continue to frown upon these mouthpieces of capital masquerading as political messiahs of our people. It’s only yesterday that the architects of the DA championed and benefited from the notorious apartheid regime and today they have come back with a Black token to reverse the gains of Freedom in Post-Apartheid South Africa. Their bitterness and ideology however cannot be concealed and this was recently seen when DA Leader Helen Zille took to Twitter to remind the masses that *”Colonialism wasn’t ONLY negative”* – an appalling statement that we are yet to see Maimane take action against,” said Chanda.
The DA released a statement on Thursday evening after he barred saying an act akin to the tactics of the Apartheid government occurred at Lusaka Airport and called on the South African government to strongly condemn and expect swift intervention.
“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,” Spokesperson Phumzile Van Damme said.
Van Damme added that upon arrival, Zambian police boarded the aircraft, aggressively confronted Maimane, and took his private cell phone from his possession.
The Zambian High Commission in SA on Friday said Maimane’s visit was aimed at “assaulting our sovereignty” and in particular the rule of law in that country.