Zambian authorities said they stopped ex-president Rupiah Banda from leaving the country yesterday to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Kenya's new president because he was late for the function.
Banda, who is facing corruption charges, was turned back at the international airport in Lusaka by immigration officials citing orders from ‘higher up,’ Banda's aide Kennedy Limwanya told AFP.
Deputy information minister Mwansa Kapeya said the immigration authorities acted legally to stop Banda from boarding the plane.
Kapeya said Banda was to take off from Lusaka at 11:00 am (0900 GMT) when the swearing-in ceremony was already under way.
In a statement, Kapeya questioned the motive behind his desire to fly to Kenya even when he knew well that he was late and would have found the function finished.
Banda was recently stripped of his presidential immunity and hit with a slew of graft charges, in what allies say is an attempt by his successor as president, Michael Sata, to neutralise political opposition.