By SIMON MUNTEMBA
RWANDA’S President Paul KAGAME has pledged to help Zambia identify the source of false allegations by rebel leader Callixte Nsabimana Sankara that President Edgar Lungu had provided US$150,000 support to the insurgency.
The President told Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joe Malanji, who was sent to Kigali as a special envoy, that he did not give credence to the allegations because investigations had established that Zambia was not one of the five countries the insurgent group had sought support from.
The affirmation, confirms assertions by “refugee” Rwandans that the allegation were planted by local Zambian enemies of President Lungu.
President Kagame affirmed the solid and sound relationship he enjoyed with President Lungu, as a person and could not see him sponsor mercenaries to overthrow him.
Mr Malnji disclosed that he had a long discussion on Thursday with President Kagame in Rwanda as a special envoy of Mr Lungu.
The statement by President Kagame affirms concerns by local Rwandese resident in Zambia, that the allegation was planted by President Lungu’s enemies in Zambia.
Mr Malanji explained that the allegations against President Lungu were not coming from the government of Rwanda, but now a convict.
“I had a lengthy meeting with the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame as special envoy of President Lungu and the government of Rwanda and President Kagame was very categorical that this convict had been to five countries prior to his arrest and Zambia was not one of them,” Mr Malanji said.
He said Government could not act on impulse, when the allegations were reported but decided to engage the Rwandan Government to make sure they give a response from an informed position.
“So I can confidently mention to you that the bilateral relationships between Zambia and Rwanda are intact. President Kagame indicated categorically that he has a very sound relationship with President Lungu as a person and he did not see how he could start hiring these mercenaries.
Zambia did not share borders with Rwanda. “Much as we have bilateral ties with Rwanda, we do not share any border with that country that could lead to conflict.”
The Minister said the allegations have absolutely nothing to do with President Lungu.
“We are going to dig diplomatically, we are going to engage Rwanda and find out the reason and who could have enticed this convict to bring the name of President Lungu and Zambia into disrepute.
“We are following this up, and soon our officers are going to Rwanda to make sure that we dig and find out why he had to bring the name of President Lungu into disrepute,” Mr Malanji said.
A suspected Rwandan terrorist alleged in court that President Edgar Lungu facilitated the National Liberation Forces (FLN) in its attempts to overthrow the Rwandan government.
Callixte Nsabimana Sankara, who was spokesman for the FLN, told a High Court in Rwanda’s Nyanza district on Monday that President Lungu had allowed them space to operate and even pledged $1 million to help topple the Rwandan government.