HH Confronts Mnangagwa 
1 July 2024
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By Political Reporter- The government of Zambia has summoned the Zimbabwean envoy in that country, Charity Charamba, to explain comments made by President Emmerson Mnangagwa during his recent visit to Russia.

Mnangagwa recently told Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting at Konstantinosky Palace in the Petrodvorets district of St. Petersburg, Strelna village, that the West was using Zambia to isolate Zimbabwe.

According to a transcript of the meeting published by the Kremlin, Mnangagwa said Western countries were consolidating their power in Zambia “in terms of security and in terms of financial support” thereby isolating Zimbabwe.

Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mulambo Haimbe, recently said Mnangagwa’s comments were an “unwarranted attack on Zambia’s sovereignty.”

Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba confirmed the meeting of Ambassord Charity Charamba with the Zambian government. Said Charamba:

We are aware that following the bilateral talks between the President of Zimbabwe and his Russian counterpart, whichdetails were placed in the public domain by the host President, the Zambians reacted by summoning our Ambassador, Ambassador Charamba, to the Foreign Office.

In that meeting, which took place at the Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zambia, there was quite some widerepresentation of various departments of the Zambian government.

[George] Charamba said [Charity] Charamba heeded the summons by Zambia authorities and presented herself to the Zambian Foreign Office. He said:

When she got to know about the misgivings of the Zambians, which she promptly delivered to the head office of the Zimbabwean Government, the Zimbabwean Government promptly responded to the issues which the Zambians actuallyraised with us.

What that means in diplomatic terms is that the matter is being handled at a bilateral level.

Haimbe told the Zambian Parliament the government had lodged a formal complaint against Zimbabwe with SADC Executive Secretary Mr Elias Magosi for regional intervention in the matter.

Charamba said this move by Zambia suggests that Lusaka may have “lost faith in bilateral interaction with the Republic of Zimbabwe”. He said:

… if what we are getting is true, it suggests that the Zambians have lost faith in the bilateral interaction with the Republic of Zimbabwe, which will be so unfortunate and will not bode well for our bilateral relations.

It essentially means they are trying to escalate the matter to a sub-regional body, when in fact there is already interaction at a bilateral level and that interaction has not been exhausted nor has it hit an impasse.

We really regret that the Zambians would have taken such a course because that would be inappropriate given the relationship and also the fact that the two states are communicating.

In a statement issued on Friday last week, Charamba said Mnangagwa stood by the remarks he made in Russia. He said:

For the record and for the avoidance of any doubt, President Mnangagwa stands by his remarks in St Petersburg whichraised well-founded fears for Zimbabwe regarding American intentions and activities in our region, and which voiced and defended Zimbabwe’s sacrosanct security interests, while echoing the collective position of Sadc and the African Union, AU, against any foreign military presence and/or activities on African soil.

During the meeting with Putin at the Constantine Palace on 06 June 2024, Mnangagwa said:

You see, the West has just begun consolidating its power in Zambia, our next neighbour. You know, there was a time when Zambia and Zimbabwe were one; it was called Northern and Southern Rhodesia. It was made one by the British, but they are now separate. And the Americans are consolidating their power in that country, both in terms of security and in terms of financial support to Zambia to make sure that we feel lonely.