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Activists denied entry in Zambia

NAIROBI, August 9 – Centre for Multi Party Democracy (CMD) Executive Director Njeri Kabeberi has condemned the Zambian government for denying her entry into that country on Thursday, alongside her fellow human rights activist Cyprian Nyamwamu.

Kabeberi told journalists on Friday that the incident was demeaning to the Zambian government and a shame to the continent, considering their visit was for a good cause.

“This was a conference on the transition government in Zimbabwe. We only wanted to share the Kenyan experience with Zimbabweans so that even after the peace agreement, they would know that there is a way to continue building their democracy,” Kabeberi uttered.

She, alongside other activists drawn from Lesotho, Nigeria, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, the US and Colombia, were all expected to attend the civil society conference.

They were reportedly barred from the country for ‘no valid reason given other than information that the conference had been cancelled’.
The international meeting, themed ‘Transitional government in Zimbabwe’, had been organised by various human rights organisations from the South, including South Africa’s Freedom House and Institute of Human Rights in Zambia.

The discussions were intended to touch on various topics, including the lessons learnt by the Kenyan coalition government.

Kabeberi said that on arrival, delegates were informed by Zambian Immigration officials that the conference had been cancelled and there were instructions from organisers that the delegates should not be allowed into the country.

She narrated how they were detained at the Lusaka Airport from 10am to 5pm and denied a chance to seek help from the Kenyan Embassy in Lusaka, until later when the Kenyan High Commissioner there, Lazurus Amayo, intervened.

Kabeberi said that they would, through the Zambian High Commission in Kenya, write to the Zambian government to demand a formal explanation on the incident.

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She added that the group would also write a letter to the African Commission on Human Rights and copy the letter to the African Union, to express their dismay.

CMD chairman, Professor Larry Gumbe also condemned the incident terming it as ‘barbaric’.


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