Thursday, February 29, 2024

Archbishop Mpundu commends President Hichilema over refugee policy

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Emeritus Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu has commended President Hakainde Hichilema for
approving a national refugee policy and has supported calls for granting citizenship to refugees in
line with Article 37 of the Constitution of Zambia.Archbishop Mpundu commends Hichilema over refugee policy

In a media statement, the former Archbishop says more can and should be done under our current
legal framework to address the legal status of refugees in Zambia.He said refugees are an embodiment of ‘strangers’ to whom Jesus referred in Matthew 25:35-40.

“It deeply concerns me that the current Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Hon. Jack
Mwiimbu, has not taken steps in the last two years to invoke Section 49 of the Refugees Act,
2017” says Archbishop Mpundu.

He said the failure by Minister of Home Affairs to discharge the mandate to naturalise refugees
who qualify for Zambian citizenship is reflection of a lack of political will and missed opportunity
to conclusively address the refugee issue through existing legal channels.

He said granting citizenship to refugees who meet the legal requirements aligns with Zambia’s
commitment to human rights and will harness their skills to contribute to our country's
socioeconomic growth.

“Denying refugees and their children, who have known no other home but Zambia, the
opportunity to obtain citizenship renders them stateless – an inherently inhumane situation that we
must rectify,” he said.

Meanwhile, the former Archbishop has cautioned President Hichilema regarding any reckless
decisions regarding the repatriation of refugees to Rwanda.

“While I acknowledge the concerns raised by President Paul Kagame, we must recognize that
individuals accused of committing genocide were tried in the Arusha Court on Rwandan genocide,
a process completed with Zambia’s cooperation,” he said

Archbishop Mpundu has instead implored President Hichilema to transfer remaining perpetrators
of genocide, if there are any who were not tried in Arusha, to Geneva or another neutral country in
Europe or the USA where they can receive a fair and impartial trial in accordance with
international law.

Zambia is currently a home to an estimated total of 89,100 refugees out of which 17,305 former
refugees and their children who have been declared stateless by virtue of the cessation clause
declared in 2013 and have lived in Zambia for 30 years.

13 COMMENTS

  1. I pray for long life for Mpundu, the man speaks fearlessly and commends the government when they perform well.
    A man of integrity and courage.

  2. Our foreign policy regarding Zimbabwe is in a mess. Diplomatically we have failed and a huge problem is on a the horizon regarding Zimbabwe. We need to act fast to resolve the matter at hand otherwise we should expect an influx of refugees from Zimbabwe.

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  3. Why does Pilato want to create a mountain out of an ant-hill? What foreign policy regarding Zimbabwe is in a mess? When SADC and other international election observation mission reports observe that elections in Zimbabwe were not free and fair and didnot meet regional and international standards, how does this observation become a mess foreign policy of Zambia on Zimbabwe. It is the continued rigging of elections in Zimbabwe which has continued to cause an influx of frustrated Zimbabwean citizens to Zambia and South Africa.

    • True, Both Mnangagwa and Pilato need to know that even if it was a Zambian who went there he wasnt sent by Zambia but by SADC. But immature characters cant separate the two. The fact is a SADC representative cant drop from heaven. He has to come from a member country. You cant then stigmatise a country because its SADC rep found your elections wanting. Grow up ZANUPF and Mnangagwa

  4. Zambia isn’t a good destination for those refugees that desire to develop careers. The conditions aren’t conducive. GRZ insists on refugees being in camps were facilities for education and career development don’t exist. Refugees end farming or blacksmithing. As for the Rwanda genocide that happened about 30yrs ago, the current hunt for perpetrators looks like a hunt for political opponents. Some of those being pursued are less than 40yrs. I don’t know how they can be held accountable for crimes committed when they were adolescents. It’s difficult to comprehend

  5. During his time, he helped to guide the release of pastoral letters that spoke for the people but now, it appears the Bishops have all stopped and running after politicians. Continue being the voice you been Archbishop

  6. You always fearless & speak with boldness for the downtrodden. Agreed. Let’s incorporate these refugees into our country. They are more Zambians than were they came from

  7. Refugees are refugees. They should not be transformed automatically into citizens. Kindness kills. One day we will regret our decision of accommodating too many refugees.

  8. God must continue to protect you Archbishop. You an angel HE sent to speak for many who cannot do it themselves. Its only that we have politicians who are lost in the sweetness of power. By now, most refugees would have had citizenship

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