LUSAKA, – Embattled Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema has come under attack from the opposition because of his frequent trips abroad.
Mr Hichilema on Wednesday made his ninth foreign trip since taking office in August.
His latest trip is a two-day visit to South Africa for talks with his counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa as well as attending a book launch.
But the opposition Socialist Party has questioned the trip after his meeting with Mr Ramaphosa was described as a courtesy call.
“So, what exactly is the purpose of President Hichilema’s trip to South Africa if the meeting with President Ramaphosa is only a by-the-way? Is the meeting with President Ramaphosa a mere cover-up for his private pursuits?,” Socialist Party president Fred M’membe wrote on his Facebook page.
While in the opposition, Mr Hichilema often criticised foreign trips undertaken by his predecessor Edgar Lungu.
Andyford Banda, a current opposition leader, tweeted that his party and current President Hichelema had previously both “condemned” Mr Lungu’s administration for this, adding that “cutting costs must start with” Mr Hichelema himself.
However, Mr Hichilema explained his trip in a series of Facebook posts.
He confirmed holding bilateral talks with Mr Ramaphosa which centred “around development, regional peace and security and enhancing our economic and bilateral ties”.
He also confirmed taking part in the launch of a book written by Greg Mills, entitled Expensive Poverty, Why Aid Fails And And How It Can Work.