Mnangagwa's Spokesperson Escalates Zimbabwe, Zambia Quarrel

1 month agoTue, 11 Jun 2024 12:44:48 GMT
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Mnangagwa's Spokesperson Escalates Zimbabwe, Zambia Quarrel

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba on Sunday threatened Zambia with unspecified action, saying Zimbabwe’s northern neighbour should “look at the Russia-Ukraine conflict and extract valuable lessons before it’s too late.”

The Russia-Ukraine conflict escalated in 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine, marking the largest attack on a European country since World War II. Thousands of Ukrainian civilians and military personnel have been affected.

Posting on X, Charamba said Zambia and Zimbabwe have been great neighbours “but as things change we will adjust accordingly for the sake of territorial integrity and national interest.”

His threats came barely three days after Mnangagwa told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Zambia posed a security threat to Zimbabwe, saying the United States government was consolidating its military presence in the country.

Details of Mnangagwa’s meeting with Putin were released by the Kremlin, with the Zimbabwean team unaware that the discussions would be released to the public according to Charamba.

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Zambian political activist Joseph Kalimbwe castigated Mnangagwa for his remarks, adding they could create a diplomatic crisis, disturbing the peace between the two countries.

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

In another post on X on Monday, Charamba under his pseudonym, Dhonzamusoro007, appeared to accuse Zambia of allowing 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.

More: Pindula News



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