Congolese rhumba star Koffi Olomide is facing arrest by Zambian police on suspicion of assault, local media reported Sunday. The privately-owned daily The Post reported that Olomide had been reported to the police for a assaulting a freelance journalist at the upmarket Taj Pamodzi Hotel Friday evening during one of his shows.
“Fourty-four year-old Jean Ndayisenga reported to Kabwata police that the multi-award winning musician kicked him in the face as he tried to take a picture of him after a show at Lusaka’s Taj Pamodzi on Friday,” said the Sunday Post.
Kabwata police deputy criminal investigations detectives inspector Augustine Hamoonga confirmed that Koffi had been reported to Kabwata police station for assault, the daily added. The newspaper quoted the victim Mr Ndayisenga as saying: “He kicked me in the face and my flesh got damaged. They were a lot of people and they saw what happened.”
It reported that Mr Olomide was no stranger to trouble with the Zambian police as in his previous visit two years ago he eluded a police dragnet and exited the southern African nation on a motorbike following differences with his promoters at the time.
It said in his home country, the 58-year-old Olomide appeared in court, accused of assaulting and battering his producer Diego Music Lubaki and malicious destruction of hotel facilities in August this year. There was no immediate comment from Olomide’s camp. Olomide is in Zambia for a series of shows in the capital Lusaka and the Kitwe in the Copperbelt Province.
Olomide has a strong Zambian following but it is unclear how much damage the incident will cause to his impending shows. Koffi is also accused of beating up one of his female dancers. Master of Ceremonies during Friday’s show,Henry Banda, said he witnessed Koffi slapping his dancer. He said the slap sent the lady to the ground and when she got up, she looked disoriented.
“Yes he slapped her very hard across the face. She actually tumbled to the ground just missing a stair step. She got up and tried to straighten herself but with no complaint, maybe that is how he disciplines his dancers.” One of Koffi’s security personnel, who chose to remain anonymous, said Koffi slapped the girl and beat her again in the hotel room.
The source said Koffi was not pleased with the girl’s interaction with others as he prefers his dancing queens not to interact with anyone. “It’s like he was not happy that she had been talking to some people and that was why he hit her. And on top of that slap, he gave her a worse beating in the room. But these girls are weird. They never report,” the source said.
Another source said Koffi had been arguing with the same girl at the time Mandela (the photographer) interrupted them. “He was telling the girl that the show was over and they should go but she was insisting on staying. Koffi tried to plead with her and in the process, Mandela also started taking pictures. That is how Koffi got angry and kicked him,” said one source.
Some of Koffi’s other close confidants disclosed that the musician was not happy with the performance of the dancers and the band too.
“His band had been tired, especially the ladies. On stage, you see him asking the people on the drums and the dancers to up the tempo. He has been frustrated with their performance, with the band he came with. Probably they did not rehearse for a long time,” said a source.
Koffi was in February accused by a Paris court of three counts of rape and illegal confinement after complaints from three of his former backup dancers. He denied the charges and returned to the Democratic Republic of Congo before French authorities could say if he should be held without bail.