Congo DR President Joseph Kabila yesterday survived a fatal road traffic accident involving his presidential motorcade in Lusaka, after police failed to clear the route for him.
And President Kabila refused to comment on Zambia’s state of governance, saying it would be very impolite for him to do so.
Meanwhile President Kabila says the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia should not serve to divide the two nations, but instead serve as a transit facility for a better future.
Despite police officers lining the Leopards Hill Road for the visiting president in Lusaka, a Toyota light truck which was not cleared off the road, collided with the Presidential motorcade, leaving the driver dead and the police officer who was manning the Highway seriously injured.
Police spokesperson Esther Katongo confirmed the incident in a statement, giving details of the casualties, but could not explain why the light truck did not pave way for the President’s convoy.
“There was a serious injury road traffic accident which occurred today 18th February, 2018 at about 10 35 hours along Leopards Hill Road opposite Saudi Arabia and France Embassies. Involved was Andrew Phiri aged 35 of Twikatane Compound in Lusaka who was driving a Toyota Dyna registration number ACJ 8318 Blue in colour from East to west direction. Also involved was a Mazda motor vehicle registration number GRZ 520 CN belonging to State House which was being driven by Inspector Kayumba,” Katongo stated.
“The accident happened when the Mazda which was being driven by Inspector Kayumba who was on a Presidential escort duties for the visiting President of the Democratic Republic of Congo moving from West to East direction collided with a Toyota Dyna which failed to give way to the Presidential Motorcade. The GRZ motor vehicle spinned off and hit a police officer who was at his point of duty on route lining. The officer sustained injuries on his left leg. Another motor vehicle Ford Ranger registration number ZP 2291B which was also part of the convoy being driven by Sergeant Mwila hit into a stationed motor vehicle Toyota Corolla registration number ABZ 1192 which was parked off the road after he swerved to the right in trying to avoid hitting into a motor vehicle in front on the convoy.”
She said the driver of the Toyota Dyna Andrew Phiri sustained a fractured left leg , arm and multiple cuts on the forehead and was rushed to UTH while the driver of the Mazda escaped unhurt.
“The motor vehicle carrying the visiting President was not affected… the driver of the Toyota Dyna, Andrew Phiri has died in UTH where he was rushed for medical attention,” said Katongo.
And a State House source expressed concern at the “incompetence of the police who should have cleared the road.
“President Kabila was with [Zambia’s] Foreign Affairs Minister Joe Malanji in the other vehicle which was not affected by the accident. You have to understand that the security of a visiting Head of State is the responsibility of the host President, so this is really an unfortunate case, especially that H.E (President Lungu) was not with his counterpart when it happened. We believe that even the police will have to be careful how they handle this issue before it raises any theories; because if there was route lining and police did their job, what was the light truck doing on the High Way?” asked the concerned source.
“To some degree, this shows a level of incompetence on the part of the police and it is an embarrassment to the host President. It exposed the visiting President to danger, and you will see our police command putting the blame on the motorist who did not clear the road. But the incompetence is on the police part.”
Speaking earlier when he visited Embassy Park to pay his respects to Zambia’s fallen presidents, President Kabila said the mausoleums were a good idea, buy refused to comment on governance issues.
“What can we learn from the past leaders of Zambia? There contribution to peace and their contribution to development and stability in Zambia and the region. The general impression of this facility here (Embassy Park) is that it is a good idea, its a good initiative. I believe that’s the way to go, it is one of the best ways to honour these fallen leaders,” Kabila said.
Asked what he felt about Zambia’s governance situation, Kabila said he would be impolite if he commented.
“I won’t talk of the governance [situation] in Zambia, it could be very impolite of me to do so, but as far as cooperation is concerned… in fact that is one of the reasons why I am here, to strengthen that cooperation between our two countries. I stated yesterday that we have the second longest border with Zambia [which stretches] more than 2,000 kilometres. That border should not serve to divide the two countries considering that we share the same population, same tradition same cultures. The border should serve as a transit towards a better future both for the Congolese and the Zambian people,” said Kabila.