Zimbabwe Escalates Diplomatic Tensions with Zambia

George Charamba
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HARARE – Zimbabwe has intensified its diplomatic rift with Zambia, with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson, George Charamba, accusing Zambian authorities of collaborating with the United States government to undermine Zimbabwean counterparts.

This escalation follows Mnangagwa’s disclosure to Russian President Vladimir Putin that Zambia poses a security threat due to substantial US funding in its security sector.

Charamba’s remarks on social media highlighted Zimbabwe’s concern over Zambia’s alleged alignment with the US, suggesting it positions Zambia as an adversary. He referenced the Southern African Development Community (SADC) resolution against foreign military influence and cited past instances where African solidarity resisted foreign intervention in the region.

The accusations against Zambia coincide with reports of the US Africa Command (Africom) establishing an office at the US embassy in Lusaka. However, Zambian President Hichilema dismissed these reports as routine diplomatic arrangements.

This strain in relations isn’t new, with tensions flaring after the 2023 Zimbabwean elections when a Zambian-led SADC observer mission criticized the polls. Political analysts view Zimbabwe’s stance as undiplomatic, aimed at deflecting from its own diplomatic missteps.

Despite Mnangagwa’s attempt to impress Putin with such accusations, analysts argue that Putin prioritizes more substantial alliances, such as stable political environments and economic benefits, over petty disputes.

While relations between Zambia and Zimbabwe have deteriorated in recent years, analysts believe they won’t worsen further. They stress the need for both countries to address underlying issues and uphold their historical relationship.