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DRC GIVES ZAMBIA ULTIMATUM

DRC GIVES ZAMBIA ULTIMATUM

…to demolish illegal structures at Kasumbalesa border’s no-man’s land

By SIMON MUNTEMBA

THE Zambian government has been given three months ultimatum by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Government to demolish the illegal structures built by its citizens at the “no-man’s-land” at Kasumbalesa Border Post.

Kasumbalesa is the busiest route to the Great Lakes Region for Zambia and the rest of the SADC, as well as the main border crossing between Zambia and the DRC, but the contentious “no-man’s-land” area experiences incidences of smuggling.

Recently, Zambia and the DRC agreed to demolish the illegal structures on the borderline which had been identified as a contributing factor to smuggling which the DRC did when Zambia has not fulfilled the agreement.

This has infuriated the DRC which has demanded that action be taken within the next three months. 

Speaking during a bilateral trade meeting at Kasumbalesa Border Post on Friday, DRC advisor to the Minister of External Trade,  Jeremie Mukena said the agreed time frame for demolishing the said structures by the Zambian government has already elapsed and has demanded that action be taken within the next three months.

“The Zambian government should speed up the process of demolition exercise at no-man’s-land. We ask Zambia to demolish these illegal structures within three months,” Mr Mukena, who spoke through an interpreter, said.

He said the demolition of illegal structures along the Kasumbalesa border on the Zambian side would be the only way to curb high levels of smuggling.

But director for foreign trade at the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry Bessie Chilemo said Zambia was doing everything possible to ensure the illegal structures at Kasumbalesa border’s no-man’s land were demolished. 

Meanwhile, ZANIS reports that the Bwile Royal Establishment under Senior Chief Puta in Chienge has disclosed plans to go to court over the matter surrounding the demarcation of the Zambia/DRC border along the region.

The traditional leadership has complained that over 32 villages including two schools – Musangu and Lambe – are under the DRC following the re-demarcation of the border line.

This was disclosed during a meeting called by Senior Chief Puta at his palace to discuss the ongoing demarcation of the border along the two nations.

Senior Chief Puta said there is need to immediately halt the exercise so that all the concerns raised can be remedied, to avoid future problems

And speaking earlier, Sub Chief of Natende Walushiba, Katele Kalumba, accused some officials in the Patriotic Front of working with other technocrats in the civil service of being behind a scheme to give away mineral rich areas to corporate entities which have interests in parts of the land in Chienge.

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