MMD president Nevers Mumba has lamented that government did not come to his aid when he was restricted by the Democratic Republic of Congo authorities despite making Zambian officials aware of his situation.
And Mumba says he will carry out some investigations to confirm whether someone in Zambia fed Congolese officials with the lies which he was questioned on because no one in DRC could be responsible for that.
In an interview with his nephew Chitambala Mwewa, live on his Simon Mwewa Lane Facebook page on Tuesday night, Mumba said he even tried contacting President Edgar Lungu but there was no response from him.
“It is a little bit strange. I don’t understand why, I was there for five days and there was no communication from the Zambian Embassy or consulate. Even any Zambian, it doesn’t have to be a vice-president or anything. If in Canada I hear that there is a Zambian implicated or in jail, as the embassy, it becomes our priority to find out what the problem is, second of all, we need to find out about his safety, we need to find out if he has means, he has food or everything is fine with him. I didn’t have any of that. Obviously the Zambian government will have an answer for that. But it is not just for me, I think that if this can be done to a former president, I doubt if it can be done to an ordinary Zambian. But it should never be that way. The government must be on its toes to ensure that the Zambians feel they have a country and the States that operates. And that also challenges the Congolese government,” Mumba, who is a former republican vice-president, said.
“If our officials had arrived quickly, even the Congolese government would have been more cautious in how they dealt with me, then all of a sudden they realize that Zambia doesn’t play with its former leaders, they are there for them. But they really didn’t feel under pressure from my government. But again, I don’t know whether they were making efforts. And that’s why they had wrong information telling the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that I had been moved to Kinshasa. I had not been moved to Kinshasa, no, there was no communication with me. What I remember is that I am the one that contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, before they took the phones from me. I left a message for him [Joseph Malanji], later on I tried to call him, he picked up his phone. I tried to explain to him but he sounded like he was in a meeting. And I left it there. I did send a message to the President as well, both a voice note and text and I never got any response from him as well.”
When asked what he was doing in DRC, Mumba said he went there for some private business.
“First of all Congo is our neighboring country and every Zambian should feel free to go to any country around us. I go to Congo for various things and every trip has got its mission. This particular one was a business one. I went with my young man who does business on my behalf. We were submitting our letters of intent to the government of Katanga to supply certain commodities. This one was purely business,” he said.
When asked how he found himself in that situation, Mumba said he was caught in the crossfire of the unsteady political tension of that country.
“Well, it’s not all clear like I have said I have just crossed the border the last five minutes so we are still trying to figure out exactly what happened. But you must understand that there are a lot of political activities right now in the Congo, the President just announced that he is pulling away from the alliance he has with president Kabila which has really heightened the political situation in the country. Beyond that, then a former vice-president is in Katanga and it is assumed that Katanga province is the base for the former president and the President in Kinshasa is a friend of mine so I was caught in the crossfire of a very unsteady political atmosphere,” Mumba said.
“So people were just assuming this and eventually they built up stories that led to them getting hold of me and restricting me and allowed me to go into gruesome interviews. So we were waiting for the answer from Kinshasa all this time after they submitted their reports. And the answer came today that from the president there that please release him there is no truth to that.” Mumba said.
He narrated how Congolese security agencies “restricted” him.
“It was a very dramatic manner that they did it. We thought the Zambia Police were dramatic, they ate kindergarten when you compare them to what happens there. I was in a lodge in Kolwezi, I was, don’t know what I was doing, I think I was reading the Bible or something when all of a sudden, I started to receive phone calls from my aides who were with me that there are some people here who you need to be careful with and they came with various vehicles. I don’t know they could have been 16 of them and that’s not counting the uniformed military personnel with land cruisers and machine guns and all that that goes with war. They surrounded the lodge, got into my room and demanded that I follow them to their station. So my team resisted that they didn’t know what it was but the guys were very brutal. We managed to go with them and they got me into the vehicle, and they steered off for Lubumbashi which was four hours away,” he narrated.
“You know, just before you reach Lubumbashi, there is a road that goes to the left, there is a little airport or strip with an old plane which is non functioning that is where they killed [Patrice] Lumumba. So when they turned there, in my heart I was saying ‘wow, where are we going?’ So when we got there, there was some kind of camp with soldiers and I understood that’s the office of the President and stuff like that…a security place. They got me into the car while they were making arrangements then an hour later, we started off for Lubumbashi. I was about to be put in jail but I think they got a call from Kinshasa that they shouldn’t put me there and that is when the general drove me to a hotel and checked me in the hotel. And the following two, three days were all about interrogation to ask me why I was there. They had their own reasons and allegations, none of them were true.”
And Mumba said he was going to figure out if anyone from Zambia was involved in feeding the Congolese government with lies.
“Once I get home, I am going to have to figure out whether anyone from this part of Zambia was involved because whatever they accused me of could not have come from there. I have no problem with Congo. Congo is very user friendly to me. The President there is a friend of mine, he is a brother in Christ so ever since he became President, I have gone there I don’t know how many times. So it has not been hostile. But I went to Lubumbashi this time, and what they wanted to do is give me a treasonous case which was going to keep me there, locked up for years if not executed. So whoever did that is not only an enemy, he is a killer. Somebody that would want me dead. And it could be somebody not too far away from us. We have to investigate all of that,” said Mumba.