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Mnangagwa's Zanu-PF desperate to engage Zambia leader

by Staff reporter
12 Nov 2021 at 05:37hrs | Views
THE ruling Zanu-PF party yesterday said it was making frantic efforts to engage Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema over social media rants targeted at President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government by the neighbouring country's ruling United Party for National Development (UPND) staff.

Zanu-PF acting spokesperson Michael Bimha told a media briefing in Harare yesterday that UPND spokesperson Joseph Kalimbwe's social media posts mocking Mnangagwa's government had the potential to damage relations between the two presidents.

Bimha said despite the squabbles and issues with Kalimbwe, Zimbabwe would use proper communication channels to engage the Zambian President and resolve the issue.

"Even if I have issues or concerns with the ruling party in Zambia, there are proper channels that should be followed by both parties to communicate, not through individuals," Bimha said.

"I cannot just come out and make public comments about the ruling party in Zambia or vice-versa, there are channels that should be followed."

Kalimbwe's social media posts that have rattled Zanu-PF include comments that he made about Mnangagwa's COP26 trip last week where he said the Zimbabwean leader came back empty-handed.

He also mocked Mnangagwa for taking a huge entourage of over 100 people to the climate change conference at a time when Zimbabwe is in economic doldrums.

"Our leader will return to Lusaka and go home peacefully - to continue serving. There will not be airport victory celebrations, we didn't win any trophy. The country needs fixing - that is what matters most," he tweeted.

Zanu-PF information director Tafadzwa Mugwadi countered saying: "Zambia's delegation to the climate change summit in Glasgow was, somehow, a ‘thin' delegation according to their renegade activist Joseph Kalimbwe, but compare and contrast with the Zimbabwe delegation. Free lesson: Don't dare Zimbabwe lest you will be exposed to your nakedness."

Zanu-PF officials have on several occasions clashed with Kalimbwe on social media, where they accused him of causing despondency between Zimbabwe and Zambia in order to push the interests of the opposition MDC Alliance.

"By the way, I thought you were UPND spokesperson until I realised you are just a useless dark dog with bitterness of being rejected by HH (Hichilema). Anyway, this is my last response to you. I have no time for puppets who support the interests of other political parties outside Zambia. Hello Zambia. Is everything okay," Mugwadi tweeted.

There is no love lost between the government, Zanu-PF and the Zambian ruling party.

Mnangagwa's spokesperson George Charamba on August 24 labelled Hichilema a "sellout" over his association with opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, following a similar attack in May. Mnangagwa has remained silent during the attacks, one of which was made while he was in Zambia for Hichilema's inauguration.

Hichilema scored a stunning landslide victory over incumbent Edgar Lungu in Zambia's presidential election in July, the margin of his victory surprising pundits, but also showing the level of disillusionment with the performance of the former leader.

The UPND is seen as close to Zimbabwe's opposition, MDC Alliance, after inviting its leaders, Chamisa and Tendai Biti and other opposition figures in the region to his inauguration.

At the inauguration ceremony in Lusaka, Mnangagwa had the indignity of having to share the platform with the opposition that his country's courts have ruled illegitimate.

MDC Alliance deputy spokesperson Gift Ostallos Siziba told NewsDay that Kalimbwe must be accorded his right to free speech.

"Whatever he is saying about Zanu-PF is not a lie. If they think Kalimbwe is not telling the truth, Zanu-PF should just share the evidence in public. Who doesn't know about Mnangagwa's regime and its ills?  Kalimbwe is not just a Zambian citizen, but an African who advocates for democracy and freedom of speech.

"The democratic politics of Zambia is not sufficient enough. Without the democratic politics in Zimbabwe, Kalimbwe cannot support the fascism in the Zanu-PF government, and so they should let him speak. It is a wake-up call to Zanu-PF because the world is changing. What I can say is that it's a continental revolution, and things are changing.  It's a wave of democracy," Siziba said.

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe
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