POLICE have arrested Agriculture minister Dora Siliya’s boyfriend Mark Ode Mubalama and he currently detained at Chimbokaila remand prison.
And sources at Immigration have disclosed that Mubalama is Zambian and has never held a foreign passport before.
Mubalama’s relative who sought anonymity said the Zambian immigration office summoned the minister’s boyfriend for interviews and later arrested him without a charge.
“The arrest was on Monday, they called him. In fact he was sent a text by some immigration officer called Daka or something last Friday,” the relative said.
“At first he was called for interviews when he returned from America with the minister. Then they visited his family in Masaiti. Then they called his mother’s brothers in Lusaka. His mother has two brothers in Lusaka. They called them about two weeks ago when he returned.”
The relative narrated that Mubalama did not go for interviews on Friday when he was called because he had a family programme.
“They sent a text message on Friday that he should go to immigration, but he had to rush and take his cousins somewhere, so he told them that he would go on Monday. So he took himself to the immigration! They called him and he took himself and when he went there they cooked up a charge that there were some discrepancies when he filled in his immigration form. That’s how they arrested him, and even when arresting him, they did not take him to the police station for a formal arrest so that his lawyers could secure bond, they took him straight to Chimbokaila (Lusaka Central Prison) and detained him there without a charge. He has not been charged until now,” the relative narrated.
Mubalama’s relative claimed that the Namibian President, Hage Geingob was upset that the businessman was divorcing his daughter, Nangula, only a year after the wedding.
“If he was a criminal, how did he manage to marry the daughter of a President? Now that he says ‘my marriage with the President’s daughter finished a long time ago’, he has become a criminal? Why are they wasting taxpayer’s money on useless things? Why would another country be telling our country to make decisions on its citizens? Why?” the relative wondered.
“The fact here is that Mark just stopped being in love with his (Geingob’s) daughter and the President’s daughter stopped being in love with him. Marriages end, they had marriage issues and the two of them have agreed to divorce amicably, so why should President’s be involved? Mark just fell in love with another woman and that’s the honourable minister (of Agriculture). That’s all. So they have not arrested a foreigner, but a Zambian. They should therefore charge him and take him to court. They should not punish him like he is a criminal. We have seen that even in Namibia, they are looking for ex-girlfriends to talk against him.”
The relative asked the Zambian government to help a Zambian citizen by protecting his rights.
“Now a country normally fights for its citizens first, then look at the problem later, now here they are saying the Namibian government is involved…is Mark Zambian or Namibian? As far as I know we are a Zambian family and Mark has never held a Namibian passport. He has no Congolese nationality. As far as I know, he has always been a Zambian passport holder. No one out there has complained against him, so we don’t know why there is this sudden interest in him,” complained the relative.
“Even if his father was Congolese, the point is that he has never carried a passport of any other country apart from Zambia. Even if there were any discrepancies in the information, which they want to claim, the fact is that he is a Zambian and the only passport he has ever applied for is Zambian because his mother is a Zambian, she is a Lamba. The law says you can be Zambian by one parent being Zambian. And now the Constitution even allows for duo citizenship. Mark has never taken up the Congolese nationality. Every time he had to go to Congo, he had to get a Visa. If they look at his passport, which they have, they will see that he has Congolese Visas in his passport.”
The relative further claimed that Mubalama was not a Namibian resident.
“In all the years that he has been in Namibia, he has never applied for residence, he has always had to go and renew his stay there every three months. He has always had to renew his stay there. So he can’t be Namibian either. So the question remains, why has he become a person of such great interest to the Zambian government? He is just a private citizen who is into trading.”
Siliya could not comment on the matter as she was reported in Germany on duty.
Zambia’s first secretary for press at the Embassy in Berlin issued a statement on Wednesday saying “the honourable Minister of Agriculture is in Berlin. She visited FEERUM S.A, a potential Polish company specialized in silos and grain dryers that intends to expand its businesses to Zambia.”
Meanwhile, an immigration officer spoken to confirmed that Mubalama had a valid Zambian passport.
“The passport is Zambian and it’s valid, but we seized it because when he was filling some immigration forms, he wrote different details on one form and different details on another. That’s the issue, its common but you see this matter is a complex one, big people are involved, but from our findings, he has always held a Zambian passport,” said the immigration source.
When contacted, Lusaka Province police commissioner Nelson Phiri said: “That case is being handled by immigration; it’s not our case. ”
And the immigration office stated that: “Mark has been charged with giving false information to an immigration officer and he will appear in court very soon.”
At the peak of the 2016-2017 festive period, Siliya travelled to the United States of America where she spent her vacation with Mubalama.
However, when pictures emerged of the couple with legendary heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson, social media went awash with condemnation as the agriculture sector was faced with the armyworms tragedy.
Siliya returned with her boyfriend a week later and immediately held a press conference where she explained that while she was on leave, her ministry remained operational as her deputy and permanent secretary were in office.
She avoided taking questions about her private life, saying the country needed to focus on solving serious problems and not focusing on her love affair.