STORY OF THE WEEK: ED quells tiff with Hichilema


Political Review Writer
President Mnangagwa refused to take the bait of a contrived fight between him and his Zambian counterpart, Hakainde Hichilema, it has emerged.


Mnangagwa’s spokesman George Charamba at the weekend wrote in his column in the State media suggesting that stakes had been raised for this imaginary fight between the two leaders such that a mediation team of three countries had been assembled to try to bring peace between the two sides.


It was not clear, at the time of writing, what the supposed contentious areas were, but there has been significantly less warmth between leaders of the two countries in recent times, a fact attributable to the political orientations of their respective leaders and ruling parties. Hichilema hails from an opposition background couched in Western neoliberal values is a peer of Zimbabwe’s opposition at various levels.


Hichilema and Nelson Chamisa of the Citizens Coalition for Change are known friends, and their parties are said to share mutual patronage of western interests through the Brenthurst Foundation, a grouping of capitalist interests. Both Chamisa’s and Hichilema’s parties are also linked to American and European backing.


And, naturally there has been little esprit de corps between Mnangagwa and Hichilema; and the August 23 elections represented a crisis, which showed glaringly after Hichilema’s envoy, Nevers Mumba, as leader, produced a negative report of the Sadc Election Observer Mission.


The report was later used by both the opposition in Zimbabwe and external interests such as the European Union and the US to discredit the process, and possibly overturn the results and order a rerun.
Another consequence would be to force a powersharing arrangement between Mnangagwa and his rival, Chamisa.


The contentious report drew strong responses from Zimbabwe’s ruling party
– one never shy to pick fights – while Mumba appeared to revel in the glory of being used as a cat’s paw.
But all this, according to Mnangagwa would not have amounted to a diplomatic rift requiring regional mediation. According to Charamba, at the Angola SADC Extraordinary Summit held recently, “some straight talk” from Mnangagwa “settled matters once and for all”.


Interestingly, this implies that there has been discussions not just about Zimbabwe’s elections, but also the diplomatic fallout between Zimbabwe and Zambia – something Zimbabwean authorities had kept under wraps.


“A plan had been hatched to send a three-nation team ‘to broker peace’ between Zimbabwe and its northern neighbour,” Charamba wrote, suggesting some countries in the region has been used as “proxies”.
Charamba continued: “Until a frank intervention by our President put paid to that mischief.
“The West would have been happier with some intra-Sadc fallout, with Zimbabwe reckoned as the evil part of the piece.

“Reason prevailed and the days ahead will see bilateral wounds getting sutured, all for a stronger, anti-imperialistic SADC.”


Tensions between Zimbabwe and Zambia are lowkey represented by constant potshots from Zambia by one Joseph Kalimbwe, a youth leader in Hichilema’s party, United Party for National Development, who also openly supports Chamisa and denigrates Zanu-PF and the ruling party.


In reply, Zanu-PF activists on social media accuse Kalimbwe and his bosses of being imperialist puppets.

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