WE do not understand the fuss about President Edgar Lungu paying courtesy calls on neighbouring countries’ heads of State as the newly elected President in the region.
For a country such as Zambia, which is landlocked, the visits are so important for our Head of State to explain his foreign policy.
During these courtesy calls, Mr Lungu can tie diplomatic relations which are not only politically correct but important for trade and economic development.
Zambia is not an island in diplomatic circles and cannot be expected to live an introvert life in world affairs.
If Zambia’s foreign policy is understood by leaders around us, it will go a long way in promoting peaceful co-existence and President Lungu as the chief foreign affairs minister has the duty and obligation to promote the country’s image.
Zambians and politicians in particular should understand that having been elected only last month, Mr Lungu is a junior President who has to introduce himself to other world leaders.
In other words, Mr Lungu has to be initiated into the bigger politics of international affairs and cannot afford to avoid visiting other countries in the region under the guise of saving money.
Zambia could be losing more than what some sections of society think would be saved if President Lungu stayed in State House because global economic trends are promoting economic diplomacy which largely underpins the need for good neighbourliness.
In the world of diplomacy, it can be difficult to attract other heads of State to visit Zambia if our own cannot make the first visit to introduce himself and learn how Governments are managed.
It is difficult to appreciate the criticism of President Edgar Lungu’s visit to Zimbabwe to meet his counterpart, Robert Mugabe because the Zimbabwean leader is the head of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and also the African Union.
The opposition political leaders have the duty to keep checks and balances on Government but in their providing such checks, they should avoid malice.
It should not be a trend for opposition political parties to oppose everything Government is doing even when they know the courtesy call President Lungu has undertaken could have been made by whichever person could have emerged as a victor in the January 20 Presidential election.
Is it because it is President Lungu who is introducing himself or is it about the opposition who are failing to find the real mistakes?
Time will tell whether the criticisms are genuine or not.