Immigration repudiates refugees’ bribe claims
BY SIMON MUNTEMBA
CLAIMS by Rwandese refugees that immigration officers were harassing them and asking for bribes are baseless, Immigration Department public relations officer, Namati Nshinka has said.
Mr Nshinka said some unscrupulous people might be masquerading as officers from the department to dupe the refugees.
He urged those claiming to have been harassed by either community members or immigration officers to report them to police or other relevant authorities.
“We have credible officers who professionally execute their duties and those bribe claims are baseless because if they have evidence, they would have reported the officers involved to our offices or police,” Mr Nshinka said.
His remarks came after Rwandese refugees called for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Government’s protection against harassment from the community and immigration officers.
A fortnight ago, Mr Jean Claude Ntihabose, a spokesperson for the Rwanda Refugees Association in Zambia claimed that there was an ongoing well-coordinated, and growing harassment targeting especially former Rwandese refugees living in Zambia with a “Temporary Permanent Resident” status, while Immigration officers were extorting money from them.
And Mr Bernard Pierre-Marie Lukungu, the chairperson of the Democratic Republic of Congo Congolese Refugee Community in Zambia also called for refugees to be protected and respected.
Mr Lukungu said anyone was a potential refugee and urged the government to emulate former first republican President, Kenneth David Kaunda who embraced people running from civil strife in their home countries.
He also urged Government to allow refugees to earn a living and acquire property as most of them have lived in Zambia for three decades or more.