FOREIGN Affairs Minister Joe Malanji says he is too busy to discuss whether or not MMD president Nevers Mumba was assisted by the government on his Congo DR ordeal.
Mumba lamented that government did not come to his aid when he was restricted by the DRC authorities despite making Zambian officials aware of his situation.
In an interview, Malanji said there were certain diplomatic engagements which were not for public consumption.
“He is here now in Zambia, isn’t it? Why don’t you ask him? I don’t think I have time to start discussing those things now, I am busy now. Do you think I honestly have time to start discussing whether Mr Nevers Mumba was assisted or not? We do government programmes and when you get a statement from that, what do you want from me? You want to get our position? Do you know that there are certain diplomatic engagements which are not supposed to be for your information? Certain information is G to G, government to government. Which I am not supposed to start saying that ‘oh here is Mulenga from…’ please can you spare me for that! I am not going to… every sentence I come and call Diggers to tell you that oh this is what I am discussing,” said Malanji.
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 a state that operates and also challenges the Congolese government,” said Mumba, who is a former republican vice-president.
“If our officials had arrived quickly, even the Congolese government would have been more cautious in how they dealt with me. But then all of a sudden, they realise that Zambia doesn’t play with its former leaders and 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.”