It is normal for “little known” people to make news when they are denied entry into a country, says Zambia’s Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo in apparent reference to South Africa’s DA leader Mmusi Maimane who was deported on arrival.

Speaking in Lusaka at the Labour Day awards ceremony yesterday, Kampyongo said it was common practice for the immigration authorities to scrutinise people before allowing them entry into the country because Zambia had porous entry points.

“Denying some people entry into the country is a normal operation for the immigration department. I am sure you have seen that from time to time they even go to communities to clean up those that are in the country without legitimate documentations. But of course maybe when you have one or two little known people, then it becomes news,” said Kampyongo.

“We have got so many entry points in this country, and so on a daily basis people are screened at these entry points and those that are found undesirable to come through, they are denied entry. But at the end of the day that is a routine work of the immigration department, because that’s their job.”

Maimane planned to attend UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema’s treason trial, but a combined team of immigration and poluce officers stopped him from deplaning.

“On arrival, members of the Zambian Police boarded the aircraft and aggressively confronted me and the delegation I was travelling with. I was not allowed off the aircraft and was told I was not welcome in Zambia. When I demanded reasons for being refused entry, I was told that the authorities are not required to furnish me with a reason. In the altercation, my private cellphone was confiscated, along with other mobile devices. Within an hour of arrival, I was deported back to South Africa,” Maimane told media after the incident.