The deportation of Zimbabwe’s opposition MDC Alliance leader Tendai Biti who was seeking asylum in Zambia amounts to the highest order of lawlessness in a country, says All Peoples Congress (APC) leader Nason Msoni.
And People’s Party president Mike Mulongoti says the Zambian government’s decision to deport Biti despite a court injunction against the move implies that the two governments support election rigging and intend to pursue those seeking justice.
Authorities in Harare Biti accuse Biti of having instigated post-election violence in Zimbabwe.
In an interview with News Diggers!, Msoni complained that the Zambian government was in breach of international law and protocols as regards to persons in need of international protection.
“The behaviour of the PF government to deport Tendai Biti, defying a court order, must be denounced and condemned in the strongest term! This conduct amounts to the highest order of lawlessness in the country and we think that it is President Edgar Lungu’s desperation to attend the inauguration of Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa, which is the main motivating factor for the State to break the law with impunity,” he said.
“The Zambian government is in breach of international law and protocols as regards to persons in need of international protection. Should anything happen to Mr Biti whilst in hostile hands of the military in Zimbabwe, the Zambian government will be vicariously liable for its treacherous conduct. And in the crisis in Zimbabwe, we have a problem because we were the first country that rushed to congratulate President Mnangagwa even before the dust settled, now the opposition has disputed the outcome of the election.”
Msoni charged that the international community had lost confidence in President Lungu’s governance capacity because of the way he handled himself.
“There is a vote of no confidence in the region on our president. The fact that France had instructed President Cyril Ramaphosa and South Africa to help mediate in the Congo (DR) crisis clearly shows that the international community no longer has confidence in our government and in the leadership of President Lungu to be someone who would help to resolve the crisis in the Congo because of how we have conducted ourselves. That has eroded regional confidence and international confidence because we have taken a position that we have a candidate we support in the Congo. So, we are in a conflicted position,” Msoni added.
“This just shows that we have lost our international standing because of the poor quality of leadership that we have, the leadership of Mr Lungu has been a disaster even at regional level and international level, he’s no longer recognised.”
And speaking to the media in Lusaka earlier, Mulongoti said the Zambian government’s decision to deport Biti despite a court injunction against the move implied that the two governments support election rigging and intend to pursue those seeking justice.
“You have heard of Mr Tendai, he was declared the best Finance Minister I think a few years ago of Zimbabwe. He has been in politics for quite a long time. Unfortunately, there is a dispute in the elections in Zimbabwe, he ran to Zambia for sanctuary because politicians are fond of pursuing each other. He managed to cross into Zambia and made a formal application for asylum and then the lawyers went ahead even to do a court order. They [Zambian government] ignored the court order, handed him and sent him back to Zimbabwe. Now, the SADC (Southern African Development Community) says if a person is being pursued for political reasons must never be handed back to those pursuing him,” Mulongoti observed.
“Zambia, you have taken over the chair of defence security in the region. You have sent back a person who is being pursued by a regime that is blood-thirsty, where during elections six innocent souls were lost. Zambia has got a history. This is the oasis of peace for refugees. What has changed? It’s because the people here stole the elections, they want to support the people who stole the elections in Zimbabwe, this is unfortunate.”
He said the government should be cited for contempt of court.
“So, all those who have disobeyed that law will be cited for contempt and should the blood of that innocent man they have sent back to Zimbabwe be spilt, then the leaders of this country will answerable! It’s very sad and very unpleasant and I’m very sure that this government will be held answerable,” said Mulongoti.