SOMETHING is very wrong with the deportation of two South African businessmen.
While the Department of Immigration has the mandate to exercise its powers unhindered when foreign individuals transgress immigration laws, This must be done in a transparent and accountable manner.
There is no governance institution in Zambia that is above the law with absolute power and therefore insular to accountability.
The Department of Immigration and indeed Government must come out and give reasons for deporting Mr Paxton and Mr Pietersen. Their silence will be misconstrued as subjecting South African nationals to inhumane treatment.
Why was it necessary for the Department of Immigration to drive the deportees all the way to Ndola in the dead of night to simply catch a flight as though Lusaka has no airport where South African airline and other airline land?
And what is the reason for the deporting people who were helping the Zambian Revenue Authority (ZRA) with investigation over tax matters?
Mr Paxton and Pietersen were in the process of making a statement to the Zambia Revenue Authority when immigration officers arrested them and detained them at Ridgeway police station.Why? What information is being suppressed ? Why and in whose interest?
The two South Africans were moved from Ridgeway police in the middle of the night and driven to Ndola where they were deported at about 14:00 hours.
We know that there is scandalous history between Armcor Security Limited and another security company being promoted by a Zambian of Indian origin.
According to documentation, there has been a long battle between Armcor Security Limited and the other security firm and it would not be far from the truth that the deportation of Mr Paxton and Mr Pietersen could have everything to do with the business differences between the two. This cannot amount to national security.
We may not be able to conclusively establish the real reason for the deportation of the two South African but there are strong indications that this act was orchestrated or motivated by the desire to control security business in Zambia.
Government should not been seen to take sides in such matters as the negative consequences have the potential of undermining national interest.
Those individuals benefiting from such abuse of power must be exposed.
We are calling on the Ministry of Home Affairs to investigate this matter with the view of offering the public a reasonable explanation to calm the anxiety of any investor who might conclude that the secret deportation of the two South African is the dawn of tyranny in an otherwise peaceful country.
Too many people have been deported without cogent explanation and unless, the Department of Immigration comes out in the open, the growing perception that it has become the hatchet in dubious business deals will grow.
We say this because no investor would want what happened to the two South African under the cover of darkness to happen to them. Our record as a favoured investment destination will suffer.