Are Zambia’s Borders So Porous? [opinion]

MORE than 600 suspected prohibited immigrants (PIs) rounded up just in one swoop, in town! That raises a question as to how many such suspected PIs there are in Zambia.
More than 600 foreigners, mainly Somalis suspected to be PIs were picked up on Wednesday from Ndola alone!
How many more such suspects could be in the capital city, Lusaka, and other cities like Kitwe and Livingstone as well as major towns? Are Zambian borders so porous?
It is difficult to understand why some of these people from outside the country choose to come into Zambia illegally when the country is one of the most receptive territories in the world.
Zambia’s entry rules are so user-friendly that it is easy to abide by them and still manage to come into the country and stay here.
It is sad that usually, people who choose to enter other countries illegally are those running away from the long hand of the law in their countries of origin or indeed those who intend to commit some criminal acts while in foreign land.
Indeed, a truly law-abiding citizen would not choose to break the foreign country’s laws by being a PI or just entering another country without following the due procedures.
We are aware that Zambia is a bastion of peace in the region and beyond and, therefore, this peace attracts a lot of people from other countries but those seeking refuge, either economic or political ones, should be ready to follow the host country’s laws.
Any citizen will be naiumlve to take Zambia’s peace for granted because once it breaks down it will be difficult to regain it.
We would further like to remind the citizens of this country that the onus is not just on the law-enforcement agencies to curb these illegal entries and stay in the country, but on all citizens.
It is, therefore, wrong to harbour people from foreign countries who are known not to have followed the law when entering Zambia or those who are illegally staying in the country.
This calls for all citizens to be alert and, together, help safeguard the peace of this nation.
In calling on the citizens to be alert, we are not turning ourselves into aocates of xenophobia or any other primitive beliefs but we are merely reminding the citizens that they have a responsibility to safeguard this country.
Some of these suspected PIs do not mean well. We are, equally, aware that some people, both Zambians and foreigners, suffer inconvenience every time there is such a clean-up by the combined teams of officers from the Zambia Police Service, Drug-Enforcement Commission and other security wings.
The citizens should, however, weigh the inconvenience which such moves could cause on them on one hand, and the consequences of having dangerous and criminally-mined PIs, on the other.
If the citizens are always alert and report those believed to be in the country illegally such clean-ups would be avoided because law-enforcement officers will be attending to the suspects as and whenever they come into Zambia.
There are rules governing the entry into any country, for good reasons and, therefore, Zambia can only try to ignore that at its own peril.
In any case, those who are picked up are merely suspects as once they prove that they are Zambians or are in the country legally, they are immediately released as evidenced by the release of some 400 suspects in Ndola out of the more than 600.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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