Controversial Congolese rhumba star Koffi Olomide landed in Lusaka Wednesday for a series of shows.
On arrival in Lusaka past midnight aboard a Kenyan Airways flight, Olomide toured Zambia’s Presidential site in the morning, saying he was paying homage to the three departed leaders.
And then the bigger question was put to him: What do you have to say about the allegations you are facing?.
“Silence, silence, silence.”
He responded matter-of-factly and walked by.
In 2016, Olomide was deported from Kenya following a public outcry over video footage of him assaulting a woman dancer.
After the Kenya debacle, Olomide’s show in Lusaka was cancelled after public pressure.
But still in Lusaka, he in January 2013, assaulted a Zambian photojournalist and had to flee across the border to avoid arrest.
Although he apologised, the photojournalist was still seeking “justice.”
Recently, a state daily, The Times of Zambia, quoted French ambassador Sylvain Berger saying Olomide was facing a number of charges both in Zambia and France.
The rhumba maestro is reportedly wanted on suspicion of sexually assaulting dancers, kidnapping and employing them in France without a permit, and facilitating their entry and illegal stay.
But even at home, the 62-year-old bad boy is never far from controversies. He was in August 2012 given a three-month suspended prison sentence for assaulting his producer. The sentence followed his arrest after fracas at a hotel in Kinshasa.
Earlier in 2001, security personnel in Kinshasa dragged Olomide out of his Mercedes Benz Compressor and frog-marched in public after he had defied being flagged down.
Notwithstanding his “soiled” image, Olomide is scheduled to perform on Friday in Lusaka and move to Kitwe city the following day.
That has rattled some feathers in the southern African nation of 15 million.
“The Zambia Police conducted a search on the 24/7 INTERPOL system which has revealed that there is no International Warrant of arrest (red alert notice) in respect of Antoine Christopher Agbepa Mumba Alias Koffi Olomide, indicating that he is wanted for any criminal offence in any country,” said police spokesperson Esther Katongo.
Olomide’s lawyers Makebi Zulu advocates, said in a statement issued in Lusaka.”…the Koffi Olomide function has reached advanced stages in terms of organising and any attempt to stop the same will be a direct assault on their clients’ quest to earn a livelihood and promote tourism.”
The lawyers stated that their clients (East Point Disco Tec Limited and Remarkable Limited) had placed reliance and invested over a million kwacha in the Koffi Olomide shows.
The promoter claimed to have already paid Olomide’s performance fees as well as taking care of all the logistics ahead of the show set for Government Complex banquet hall in Lusaka.
But even with the two officialdom positions, social media was still awash with comments, most of them anti-Olomide.
Teddy Ngoma posted saying “When you’re good you’re good.. He’s knows music…”
Edson Tembo said ‘Let Koffie come to Zambia. I have forgiven him but I have not forgotten his name.”
Still others like Katongo Mwansa Bwalya said, “This man is here again? what a country called Zambia?”
Bornface Kaunda: “What has he done for him to be accorded this chance?”
Derickel Mushinka simply said, “The true African legend.”
A blogger posted: ”Zodwa never harms anyone, but was blocked from coming in for simply not wearing underwear something which is her choice …… this “finished” musician who has been battering people has even been banned from performing in many countries due to his violent nature has been welcomed by Madam Religion [Religious and National Guidance Minister Godfridah Sumaili].”
Like it or not, others think Olomide is a villain who is left scot-free to roam the streets of Lusaka for his name’s sake.
Olomide felt so free that he spent Wednesday making donations at the home of the aged north of Lusaka.