Zambian President Edgar Lungu has said his country will continue to partake in efforts aimed at bringing to book perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
Lungu, who arrived in Rwanda yesterday for a two-day State Visit, made these remarks following his visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Gisozi on Wednesday.
Rwanda has to date issued warrants for 11 Genocide fugitives believed to be holed up in the Southern African nation and President Lungu told journalists that his government was committed to hunt them down to help ensure justice.
Rwanda and Zambia recently finalised an extradition treaty.
“In our country we are law abiding,” the visiting Head of State said, vowing that Zambia will not be a safe haven for Genocide suspects.
Lungu said that what happened in Rwanda in 1994 should serve as a lesson for other Africans so as to desist from divisive politics.
He also said there was need for Africans to look inward for solutions to the most pressing challenges they face.
At the memorial, President Lungu paid respects to the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and laid a wreath.
President Lungu said that the visit to the memorial “reveals how the entire continent of Africa was colonised, divided, and subdued by colonisers who employed a divide-and-rule strategy.
The Zambian leader urged other African countries and peoples to learn from what happened in Rwanda and to always look to Africa for solutions to their problems, instead of waiting for answers from outside the continent.
“As Africans we have a lot to learn from here. We cannot continue to be divided anymore and we cannot continue looking to outside as Africa,” he wrote in the guest book at the memorial.
He added: “May the souls of victims of the genocide give hope to a rejuvenated Rwanda”.
President Lungu’s visit to Rwanda follows a two-day visit to Zambia by President Paul Kagame in June last year.
President, Lungu later on Wednesday toured the Special Economic Zone in Masoro, Gasabo District where he said that his country would seek to replicate the model.
He visited the Africa Improved Foods factory that produces fortified foods and exports, PharmaLab, and C&H garments factory.
Talking to reporters after the tour, the visiting President said that Zambia has a multi-facility economic zone which has been lying idle for a long time and they intend to revive it.
“I think this inspires us to expedite the completion of the project,” Lungu said. “With what we have seen here, we need to expedite by spending a bit more money. We didn’t have enough electricity and it was a constraint, and the roads were not done too. We’re going to invest a bit more based on the great achievements we see here,” he added.
Amir Ali, the chief executive of Africa Improved Foods, said the factory imported some maize from Zambia last year after local produce was affected by bad weather.
President Lungu called for stronger trade ties between the two countries.
“For instance, we are told there is no cotton here, but we have enough cotton back in Zambia. We also have a lot to share in terms of best practices,” he said.
Clare Akamanzi, the chief executive of Rwanda Development Board, noted that the special economic zone – which was first set up in 2011 – was entering its third development phase. Many firms have set up plants in the area in recent years, creating many jobs and encouraging knowledge and skills transfer.
President Lungu was last evening hosted to a state banquet organised in his honour.
The two presidents are today expected to hold bilateral talks and address a joint press conference before the end of Lungu’s two-day State Visit to Rwanda.