How Koffi Olomide skipped jail in Zambia

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Jonathan Mbiriyamveka

Harare- Congolese soukous star Koffi Olomide successfully performed concerts in Zambia and Zimbabwe last week despite reports that he was on Lusaka police’s most wanted list for assault charges.

In an interview ahead of his show in Harare, Olomide explained why he skipped jail in Zambia where he performed first en-route to Harare.

“Everything about me is blown out of proportion, why? This is because Koffi is big.

“All the reports that I beat up my band members and fans are lies. I don’t usually respond because I know I am a newsmaker,” Olomide said.

Olomide was reportedly facing arrest by Zambian police for assaulting a freelance journalist at the upmarket Taj Pamodzi Hotel early this year during one of his shows.

Apparently, Olomide appeared in a video clip which went viral on social media, getting warmest reception from the Zambians.

He arrived at his hotel to a group of models waiting for him at the entrance.

Olomide kissed each of the models on the cheeks as he exchanged pleasantries before he was presented with a bouquet of flowers.

The Zambians were even kind enough to give the ‘Ndombolo’ singer a deserved five star treatment including bodyguards as well as top-of-the range cars for his convoy.

Neither did the Zambian police interviewed him nor did they detain him for any reason.

That said, on his arrival at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, Koffie was welcomed by a group of fans before he was whisked away to his hotel.

The only setback he had was that Olomide arrived in Harare a day after the skirmishes in the CBD which followed the elections and which later claimed six lives.

There was an unusual quietness in central Harare as police and the army dispersed people on Thursday.

Olomide was scheduled to perform at the Harare International Conference Cenre — which was also the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (ZEC) command centre — but organisers, Sound Blaze, were forced to postpone the gig from Friday to Saturday to allow ZEC to clear the venue.

“I had missed my Zimbabwean fans who are always in touch with me via messages such that I said I will be there despite the post-after elections violence,” Olomide said.

“I am prepared to die for the fans on stage. I have driven around the city (Harare) and have assessed that the situation is calm. I love Zimbabwe from the bottom of my heart.”

Olomide, who had a great show, also saluted Zimbabwe’s raunchy dancer Beverly Sibanda, who featured on his video saying she was a talented dancer.

As it turned out, Olomide’s show was the antidote that Hararians needed after the sad loss of lives.

Good move it was because on Friday evening, there was not much activity in the capital as people preferred to be indoors.

So tense was the situation that one would swear they were not in the city that never sleeps.

And when Saturday came, people seemed to have been assured that there would no longer be violence in the city so they came out to party. The event, for some served as an election victory party for President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Others were simply rhumba fanatics.

While it failed to attract a full house, the show was a high energy one. For the better part of the night, people were on their feet, singing and dancing to music from Zimbabwean heavy hitters.

Among them Alick Macheso, Leonard Zhakata, Sulumani Chimbetu and Winky D, music fans got real value for their money as the artistes delivered and seemed to complement each other well.

Olomide took to the stage after midnight although most people seemed tired the ‘Effrakata’ singer injected energy into the crowd and suddenly everyone was up on their feet again.

Olomide proved to all and sundry that he was a superstar of repute.

Dressed to the nines, Olomide and his dancers, some of whom looked too old, put up a spectacular act.

Speaking backstage, Olomide agreed to extend his stay in Zimbabwe by a day for no extra charge saying he was glad everything went well. Many thought Olomide would not agree to perform after violence erupted in Harare but he insisted he would perform.

 

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