Zambia hits back at the US and UN over Biti’s deportation

Zimbabwean opposition official Tendai Biti arrives at the magistrates courts in Harare, Thursday Aug. 9, 2018. Biti was deported to Zimbabwe following his arrest in Zambia after his asylum bid was rejected. Biti's plight has raised concerns about a wave of repression against the opposition by the government of Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

LUSAKA – Zambian government Presidential Spokesman Amos Chanda has charged that the US State Department and UN Refugee’s agency both rushed into condemning the Zambian government after it handed over Zimbabwean opposition politician Tendai Biti.

Mr Chanda described as extremely premature the statements from the State Department and UNHCR which stated that Zambia flouted international law on the protection of asylum seekers

He said the two institutions would not have issued the statements they did if they know what they know now.

Mr Chanda was speaking on Monday evening when he featured on a special interview on ZNBC TV.

He also charged that there is no situation that warrants the imposition of sanctions against Zambia over the manner it handled Mr Biti.

“The State department statement was issued too quickly, if they waited like up to now, they would not have issued that statement,” Mr Chanda said.

He added that some irresponsible citizens are saying more than what the statement from the US State Department said and are now wishing sanctions on Zambia.

Mr Chanda said he believes that a more reasoned approach will be taken when the two nations engages in talks.

He also suggested the world may be probably looking at a publicity stance with regard to Mr. Biti’s case.

“Zambia’s cooperation with the US is more than a PR stunt at the border. At the request of the US government, we have turned away some people from this country and I believe that Zambia and the US will engage in a more reasonable approach,” he said.

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Zambian government Presidential Spokesman Amos Chanda

Mr Chanda said it is irresponsible for Zambian citizens to wish sanctions on their government.

The State Spokesman also clarified that there are no double standards in the manner the Zambian government handled Mr Biti’s case and the entry into Zambia of Moise Katumbi.

“On Katumbi and Biti, there are no comparisons there because the situation in the DRC is different. Katumbi and his brother Soriano didn’t seek asylum in Zambia,” Mr Chanda said.

Source: Lusaka Times