HARARE – Zimbabwe has denied a diplomatic fall-out with Zambia after weeks of tensions induced by a damning report on the country’s August 23 poll presented recently by former Zambian vice president Nevers Mumba on behalf of the SADC election observer mission.
Stung by the findings, both government and Zanu PF politicians went overboard in discrediting the poll report.
They singled out Mumba for rebuke, accusing him of doctoring the report at the behest of Zambian leader and SADC Troika chairperson Hakainde Hichilema, an ally of Zimbabwe’s opposition CCC.
Zanu PF secretary for finance, Patrick Chinamasa’s overzealous reaction through claims he had a hand in the August 2008 death of then Zambian leader Levy Mwanawasa further heightened tensions.
Mwanawasa, who died of an ailment, dared break the African tradition of silence and solidarity among leaders to denounce Zimbabwe’s economic ruin under then President Robert Mugabe.
Chinamasa further claimed he was plotting Hichilema’s assassination with the Zambian opposition.
This saw thousands of Zambians march the streets of Ndola, Zambia’s third largest city in Copperbelt province on Monday, in protest over the excitable Zimbabwe politician’s utterances.
Addressing the protesters, Copperbelt provincial minister Elisha Matambo said the Zambian government was petitioning international and regional bodies to look into the threats on Hichilema’s life.
“I have received the petitions on the threats on the life of President Hichilema by Chinamasa and Rutendo Matinyanyire,” Matambo told protesters.
“I will deliver your petition to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so that it can be taken to SADC, AU and UN.
“Chinamasa has confessed that he killed president Mwanawasa and is now planning to tamper with the life of President Hichilema.”
However, in an interview, Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs ministry spokesperson Livit Mugejo dismissed claims of a diplomatic fall-out with Zambia.
“Kindly note that diplomacy is not done through the press and we will not comment on public statements.
“There are proper diplomatic channels we communicate with Zambia and any other state.
“And, as far as we are concerned, we are not aware of any collapsed relations,” said Mugejo. – ZimLive