Why would Zambia deport an African who is legally eligible to enter into the country, just because he has spoken against China's pernicious dealings in Zambia? Is Zambia a slave to China?
It is surprising but it is true, and sadly so.
Prof. Lumumba was sent back by Immigration officials shortly after he landed at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka aboard Kenya Airways with Flight Number KQ706.
He was due to deliver a public lecturer on China-Africa relations on Saturday night at Eden University. The topic for his public lecture was “Africa in the age of China's Influence and Global Geo-Dynamics.”
Chief Spokesperson of the Zambian government, Dora Siliya confirmed that Prof. Lumumba was deported because he posed a security threat.
“Govt thru immigration dept has denied entry into Zambia of Prof. Patrick Lumumba, a Kenyan national due to security considerations. Immigration is a security wing working with agencies within and beyond Zambia.
“Yes, I can confirm that Professor Patrick Lumumba, a national of Kenya I believe, has been denied entry into Zambia by the Ministry of Affairs’ Immigration Department. You know the ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration Department is a security and they work with other security wings both internally and beyond our borders, and it is up to them to make a determination in Zambia’s public interest and public interest of people who can be allowed to enter the country or denied.
“We saw recently a similar example of our national Laura Miti who was denied entry into South Africa. They don’t have to give an explanation. We trust that they make [a] judgment based on national security. So it’s the same case here, and I just spoke with the Minister of Home Affairs and he has confirmed that they did deny Professor Lumumba entry for security reasons. That is good enough for the government because they have the responsibility of looking after the nation.”
Professor Lumumba was invited to attend a graduation ceremony at Eden University and later feature on a Diamond TV-organised discussion forum on Chinese Investments in Africa. China is reportedly pursuing debt-trap diplomacy by positioning itself to take over Zambia's strategic assets as controlling a huge stake in the State Media.
You will recall that Zambia has in the recent last deported leading figures such as of SA’s leading opposition leader Mmusi Maimane, dancer Zodwa Wabantu, and Zimbabwe’s Tendai Biti.
Prof. Lumumba was put back on the plane and returned to Kenya.
When contacted, a representative of Eden University said the Institution’s leadership was devastated with the news as they could not understand why the Professor was not allowed entry into Zambia.
“He wasn’t even allowed to get out of the place, he just sent a text message to say we have been denied entry into Zambia. He said maybe it's the topic of discussion that government was uncomfortable with, but that was not about Zambia.”
This is indeed a sad day in the history of Africa.