gtag('config', 'UA-12595121-1'); Zambia Addresses Mnangagwa’s Remarks, Downplays Rift with Zimbabwe – The Zimbabwe Mail

Zambia Addresses Mnangagwa’s Remarks, Downplays Rift with Zimbabwe

President Emmerson Mnangagwa with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema
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LUSAKA,— Zambia has responded diplomatically to recent remarks made by Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, while downplaying any claims of a deepening rift between the neighboring countries.

President Mnangagwa recently suggested that the United States was “consolidating its power” in Zambia through increased security and financial aid, implying this was an attempt to isolate Zimbabwe.

These comments were interpreted as reflecting Harare’s growing frustration with the Lusaka government. Mnangagwa made these remarks while seeking support from Russian President Vladimir Putin at an investment summit in St. Petersburg.

However, Zambian Foreign Affairs Minister Mulambo Haimbe, in an interview with Diamond TV’s ‘This Day’ program, dismissed suggestions that Zambia and Zimbabwe were at a “crossroads.”

“Regarding the comments attributed to President Mnangagwa in Russia, we are taking a diplomatic look at that to ascertain the basis of those comments,” Haimbe said.

“If we can ascertain the position, there are processes to follow.

We are part of SADC and the AU, and any position we take will consider our wider relations in these organizations. But that does not mean Zambia and Zimbabwe have reached a crossroads.”

In Harare, the government also downplayed any rift between the SADC countries. Information Minister Jenfan Muswere emphasized their close ties, saying, “We are Siamese twins.” Haimbe echoed this sentiment, noting the long-standing relations between the two countries and recent successful diplomatic engagements.

“I was recently in Harare for a joint permanent commission for cooperation, where several MOUs were signed to deepen our relationship,” Haimbe said. “There have also been numerous interactions between our presidents on the international stage, including the recent KAZA summit in Livingstone, attended by President Mnangagwa.”

Despite these reassurances, relations between the neighboring countries have been strained since Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema took office. Tensions escalated after Nevers Mumba, head of the SADC Electoral Observer Mission to Zimbabwe, declared Zimbabwe’s August 23, 2023 elections neither free nor fair.

This report angered members of Zimbabwe’s ruling party, Zanu PF, and was rejected by government officials. President Hichilema, who has close ties with Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, appointed Mumba to the observer mission.