Politics

Mnangagwa’s Spokesperson Further Threatens Zambia

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesman George Charamba issued a warning to Zambia on Sunday, implying that Zimbabwe’s northern neighbor should learn from the Russia-Ukraine conflict and take heed before it’s too late.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict intensified in 2022 with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, marking the most significant assault on a European country since World War II. Thousands of Ukrainian civilians and military personnel have suffered as a result.

In a post on X, Charamba mentioned that Zambia and Zimbabwe have been good neighbours, but that adjustments would be made as circumstances change to safeguard territorial integrity and national interests.

Also Read: Zambia to engage Zimbabwe over Mnangagwa’s remarks

These threats followed shortly after Mnangagwa informed Russian President Vladimir Putin that Zambia was a security threat to Zimbabwe, citing the United States government’s increased military presence in the country.

The details of Mnangagwa’s meeting with Putin were made public by the Kremlin, catching the Zimbabwean team off guard as they were unaware that the discussions would be publicized, according to Charamba.

Zambian political activist Joseph Kalimbwe criticized Mnangagwa for his comments, warning that they could lead to a diplomatic crisis and disrupt the peace between the two countries.

Cornelius Mweetwa, Zambia’s Information and Media minister, informed NewsDay on Sunday that the country’s Foreign Affairs ministry was in discussions with authorities in Harare.

In another post on X on Monday, Charamba, using his pseudonym Dhonzamusoro007, seemed to insinuate that Zambia had permitted a foreign power to establish a military base on its soil. He wrote:d a foreign power to establish a military base on its soil. He wrote:

DID WE KNOW? That SADC has a standing resolution against foreign military influence, including setting up of foreign bases, in the Region????

And that Africa rejected the setting up of US Africa Command on its soil, which is why the USAFRICA COMMAND is based in STUTTGART, Germany?

That at the height of our stand-off with the West over our Land Reforms, the West approached South Africa and Namibia with the hope of persuading both or either countries to allow their territories to be used as BEACHHEADS for an invasion of Zimbabwe?

Of course, Presidents Mbeki and Nujoma flatly rejected that], in line with African solidarity, good neighbourliness and SADC and AU resolutions against foreign forces and activities on the Continent.

Do we know that it was Russia and China who vetoed the Security Council draft resolution to put Zimbabwe under the War Chapter, thus paving the way for an invasion, a fate which was to befall Libya?

LEST WE FORGET in our shrill mindless condemnation of right, and equally mindless embrace of wrong!

In 2022, there were reports that the US Africom was establishing an office at the US embassy in Lusaka.

However, Zambia’s President, Hakainde Hichilema dismissed the reports, saying the issue was about a defence attaché, which was a normal diplomatic arrangement as most countries have that in their embassies.

NewsDay reported Institute of Security Studies programmes head for southern Africa, Piers Pigou, as saying the allegations by Mnangagwa and his spokesperson were aimed at deflecting attention from their diplomatic failings. Said Pigou:

In the wake of what is best described as a diplomatic faux pax by Mnangagwa in Moscow, a slew of ZANU PF apparatchiks have been very noisy on social media trying to justify their president’s utterances, fabricating security threats from thin air, making ridiculous claims about US military bases in Zambia and that the Hichilema government presents a security threat to Zimbabwe and Sadc.

Sadly, and predictable, it is a dangerous and irresponsible narrative, not to mention fundamentally inaccurate.

The Zimbabwean government says nothing, but the messaging from the likes of George Charamba’s X account illustrates the intent; the best form of defence is attack; it is designed to deflect; there is nothing new here!

Professor of World Politics at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Stephen Chan said:

Mnangagwa was using this slur as a means of impressing President Putin. However, Putin’s Africa strategy is not built upon petty comparisons.

He would have been happy with Mnangagwa’s support but would not have been fully impressed by the way it was expressed.

This is a grown-up world where power politics is not concerned about quite modest acts of military assistance of the sort the US has conferred upon Zambia.

Zimbabwe and Zambia have a long history of good relations which span political, economic, social and cultural spheres.

Zambia played a key role in Zimbabwe’s liberation as it allowed freedom fighters to wage the war of independence from its territory despite the risk of escalating the war with Rhodesia and its allies.

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