Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo says he allowed the civil society organisations to protest at Parliament last week because it was necessary for them to show their funders that they were working.
And Kampyongo says it is not true that Congo DR’s opposition leader Moise Katumbi entered Zambia using a Zambian passport.
Speaking when he featured on ZNBC’s Sunday Interview, Kampyongo said he allowed CSOs to protest because government wanted to create space for those who were operating within the confines of the law.
“I mean they are civil people but they are also supporters, they have to justify to those that are funding them mind you, they also have sources of resources where they go to ask for resources. And when you see them clad in T-shirts, it means someone is funding them to do that and we want to create as much space as we can for every stakeholder who operates within the confinements of the law,” Kampyongo said.
“It was not unusual and I want to put the context very clear that it was not over ruling the police. The police were well premised when they said [that] they wanted to focus on making sure that the presentation of the budget went instance free. And they had suggested to those that wanted to picket to have another day on which they could do that. So a consensus was reached to say that ‘okay, maybe get those people who were asking to be given some space on why they wanted to show their messages and see how they can marshal that event of theirs and make sure that you deploy enough police to make sure that they don’t do anything other than what they asked for’.”
Asked to comment on the suspected PF supporters who attempted to attack the protesters, Kampyongo warned that no law breaker would be protected.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, as long as you are a law breaker, we will arrest you. No one is above the law. So it doesn’t matter which sympathizers those people were [but] what they did was wrong and the police were firmly right to apprehend the perpetrators of that violence. And mind you, we know that one of our newly elected MPs had his vehicle stoned and we can’t entertain that, we can’t tolerate that. And anyone who wants to claim to be a sympathiser of the ruling party must be the first one to respect. So there was nothing like over ruling the decision of the police. That decision came from within the [police] command,” he said.
And Kampyongo said it was not true that Katumbi entered the country using a Zambian passport.
“It’s not true [that he entered Zambia using a Zambian passport]. Moise Katumbi is free to come here just like any other Congolese but this government can do nothing. It can’t impose him on the people of Congo. How can we support Mr Katumbi? Can we go and tell the people of Congo to say ‘vote for Mr Katumbi? How? What role can we play? He is just like any other Congolese who is free to come to Zambia unless the Government of Congo says ‘don’t allow this person because we have these issues with him.’ So he came here as a free citizen of Congo as far as we know and we have communicated with the embassy here. Mr Katumbi travelled to Zambia using a Congolese passport which even the embassy has acknowledged that is an official passport. What we are not going to do is to permit sanctuary to someone who has broken the law and who is supposed to go through the due process of the law, just like any other country can’t do,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kampyongo said attacks on China were unnecessary because Zambia and that country were enjoying a rich relationship.
“If you are talking about China, Zambia and China have got this rich relationship. Today after independence, the first development that we got in terms of infrastructure cannot leave out China [such as] the TAZAMA pipeline and if there is anything that we can do as Zambians is to learn how we can benefit mutually. Zambians must know that the law can still visit those want to perpetrate xenophobia and if you do anything, you have got citizens in China. But I want also so assure Zambians that anyone who comes here and commits a crime, it doesn’t matter, Chinese or any other will be made to face the same law,” he said.
He also expressed happiness with the budget allocation to his ministry in the recently announced 2019 national budget.
“It appears to be a big component and sometimes you may need to understand the mandate of the ministry and look at the portfolio functions of the ministry that it performs to appreciate that even as we may say that there is so much that has gone into the ministry, you will understand. I may not say that we’ve gotten what we would have wanted but we are content with what the Ministry of Finance has provided. So we all participated in the budget that the minister delivered,” said Kampyongo.