Zambia Seeks Clarification from Zimbabwe Over Mnangagwa’s Remarks on U.S. Influence

President Emmerson Mnangagwa with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema
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LUSAKA – Zambia is engaging Zimbabwean authorities following recent comments by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who claimed that Zambia’s security sector is heavily funded by the United States.

Mnangagwa made these statements during a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of an investment summit in St. Petersburg. He suggested that the West had shifted its support from Zimbabwe to Zambia, consolidating their influence through substantial security and financial assistance.

In response, Zambian Information and Media Minister Cornelius Mweetwa confirmed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is addressing the issue with Zimbabwe. Mweetwa emphasized that such matters should not be publicly discussed.

Mnangagwa’s remarks were captured in a video where he expressed a desire to strengthen ties with Russia to counterbalance Western influence. He lamented that the West had “abandoned” Zimbabwe in favor of Zambia.

Relations between Zimbabwe and Zambia have been tense since Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema took office. The situation worsened after Nevers Mumba, head of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Electoral Observer Mission to Zimbabwe, declared Zimbabwe’s August 23, 2023 elections neither free nor fair. This report was met with disapproval from some members of Zimbabwe’s ruling party, Zanu-PF.

President Hichilema, who has close ties with Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, appointed Mumba to the observer mission. Historically, Zimbabwe and Zambia shared strong bonds, particularly during Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle, but these relations have deteriorated since Hichilema’s election victory over former President Edgar Lungu in 2021.

Zimbabwe and Zambia once enjoyed strong diplomatic relations, largely built on shared history and mutual support during Zimbabwe’s fight for independence. However, the political dynamics have shifted significantly with new leadership in Zambia, leading to a reevaluation of alliances and partnerships in the region.

Mnangagwa’s comments reflect the broader geopolitical tensions and the shifting balance of power in Southern Africa, as nations navigate their relationships with global superpowers like the United States and Russia.

The ongoing dialogue between Zambia and Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs ministries will be crucial in addressing the current diplomatic friction. As both nations work through these tensions, the outcome will likely influence the future stability and cooperation within the Southern African region.

Source: News Day