By STEVEN ZANDE -
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has said refugees should be free to live in any country as long as they abide by existing laws in the host nation.
The President was responding to a question from a journalist at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) in Lusaka shortly before departure for Kampala in Uganda, where he is going to attend the Uganda Solidarity Summit on Refugees.
“A person should be free to settle in a country of his or her choice as long as they abide by the host country’s regulations and laws. I don’t see any problem with the issue I discussed with Mr Paul Kagame, although some people want to make a problem out of it,” Mr Lungu said.
•PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu speaks to journalists at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport before departure for Uganda in Lusaka yesterday. Picture by ROYD SIBAJENE/ZANIS
He said former refugees who had chosen to settle in Zambia were expected to respect Zambian laws while those who wanted to go back to their countries of origin were free to do so.
Mr Lungu said former Rwanda refugees who had fled genocide in that country in 1994, but wanted to settle in Zambia, were free to do so while those who wanted to return could go back.
He said the Solidarity Summit on Refugees would help Zambia and other states discuss challenges and find solutions to the problem such as that faced by Zambia in hosting the largest a number of refugees in Africa.
The President said among other issues the delegates would discuss were management of the Great Nile Basin and how the waters could be shared equally for the benefit of Zambians and people from counterpart states such as Angola and Rwanda.
“But all in all it’s about development, cooperation,” Mr Lungu said.
On international relations, the President said just like any other sovereign State, Zambia had its own, stating that co-existence among the people was important for human development to take place.
Mr Lungu further appealed to Zambians to take ownership and participate in implementing national documents like the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) for the nation to build a resilient economy and help end poverty.
The President was seen off by Vice-President Inonge Wina, Cabinet Ministers, senior Government officials and members of the Patriotic Front.