'Who is Maimane to force himself on Zambia?'

A few dozen Zambian nationals have gathered outside the country’s High Commission in Pretoria where DA leader Mmusi Maimane is scheduled to make an address.

Zambian nationals have gathered outside the country’s High Commission in Pretoria following Zambia's refusal to allow DA leader Mmusi Maimane into the country. Picture: EWN

PRETORIA – A few dozen Zambian nationals have gathered outside the country’s High Commission in Pretoria where the Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane is scheduled to make an address.

Maimane and his team were barred from entering Zambia at the Lusaka International Airport last night.

Heavily armed immigration officers prevented them from disembarking and their passports and cellphones were confiscated.

Maimane says the incident shows that Zambia’s democracy is falling apart.

One man says he has come out to defend President Edgar Lungu.

“We commend the Zambian government for doing what they did because he has no right whatsoever to trespass into our country, to go and give solidarity to a man who’s going through trial with the government.

“Zambia has laws, of which Zambians follow those laws. Zambia is a sovereign state for sure, so who’s Mmusi Maimane to go and bypass our law and force himself on Zambia?”

The department's Clayson Monyela says they have requested more information on the incident from Zambian authorities.

“It wouldn’t be over the top to send one official to go into the plane and inform somebody that unfortunately you’re not allowed to enter the country, for whatever reason, even if you don’t offer an explanation. But to send in a number of heavily armed police and all of that, may be slightly over the top.”

LISTEN: Mmusi Maimane demands reasons for being barred from Zambia