FOREIGN Affairs Minister Joe Malanji says the Zambian government will soon send some officers to Rwanda to find out who could have enticed rebel leader Calliixte Nsabimana to bring into disrepute President Edgar Lungu’s name.
According to media reports from Rwanda, Nsabimana, who is currently facing 17 charges of murder and terrorism, told the High Court for International and cross-border crimes Court that his group was facilitated by the Zambian President to launch attacks in that country.
At a media briefing in Lusaka today, Malanji said President Lungu had sent him to Rwanda yesterday.
“I thought I should clear our position over the self proclaimed Calliixte Nsabimana. The allegations which have been made against the President of the Republic of Zambia are not coming from the government of the Republic of Rwanda. These allegations are coming from a convict. I had a lengthy meeting with President Paul Kagame [of Rwanda] as a special envoy of the President of the Republic of Zambia, and the government of Rwanda and President Paul Kagame was very categorical that this convict had been to five countries prior to his arrest and Zambia was not one of them. He was very categorical about this. President Kagame said to me that they do not give credence to these allegations being made by the convict,” Malanji said.
Malanji said the allegations against President Lungu had not affected the relationship Zambia shares with Rwanda in any way.
“When the story came out on social media, I know now everyone who has access to a phone wants to be a media technocrat. But we cannot act on impulse. We had to make sure that we had bilateral engagement with Rwanda to make sure that when we give you a response, it is from an informed position. So I can mention to you that our bilateral relationship between Zambia and Rwanda are intact. President Kagame categorically stated that he has a very sound relationship with President Lungu as a person and he did not see how President Lungu could start hiring these mercenaries. And to start with, Zambia is not sharing any boarders with Rwanda. Much as we may have our bilateral relations, we do not share any border whose conflict might lead to somebody being aggrieved to start sponsoring mercenaries. So you can give these allegations which are being leveled against President Lungu the contempt they deserve, it has nothing to do with President Lungu,” he said.
Malanji said government would send its officers to Rwanda to find out who could have enticed Nsabimana to accuse President Lungu of such acts.
“We are going to dig [into this]. Diplomatically, we are going to engage Rwanda to make sure we find the reason and who could have enticed this convict to bring the name of the President of Zambia and the country into disrepute. We are following this up, soon officers will be going to Rwanda to make sure that we dig and find out why he had to bring in the name of Zambia and the name of President Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu,” Malanji said.
And when called to find out what made government believe that the convict could have been enticed to lie about President Lungu, Malanji said government would not leave anything to suspense in its investigation.
“We want to get to the bottom of everything. When we are doing an investigation, we can’t leave it in suspense. Even you as a citizen you should know that these are matters bordering on national security and we shouldn’t trivialize anything. So we want to get to the bottom of this,” said Malanji.