Regional conflicts worry SADC-Lungu

PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has said the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) is deeply concerned with the political turbulences that have rocked some of the member countries and called for dialogue among the leaders of the affected countries.

And King Mswati of Swaziland has requested President Edgar Lungu to allow him visit Zambia and pay a courtesy call on him following the Head of State’s electoral victory in the January presidential election.

President Lungu, who met with the Kingdom of Lesotho Prime Minister Phakalitha Mosisili on the sidelines of the African Union Summit yesterday said political turbulences in the region were worrying the leadership in the region.

President Lungu said this after Prime Minister Mosisili briefed

President Lungu about the failed coup in Lesotho and the subsequent elections that saw his re-election.

“As SADC, we get concerned when there are turbulences in our neibouring countries but I wish to congratulate you for your re-election. But dialogue is the only solution to these challenges and they are not insurmountable,” President Lungu said.

And Prime Minister Mosisili said it was shocking that Lesotho could face such political tension and that the elections were hotly contested.

He said for the first time in history, Lesotho had had to form a coalition Government of seven political parties and that the country had started preparations for a new Constitution.

Mr Mosisili stated that following the turbulences in the country, Lesotho had embarked on constitutional reforms and asked for the support of Zambia which is also going through a constitution-making process.

Prime Minister Mosisili told President Lungu that his country had prepared a document that had bonded the seven political parties in the coalition government and was hopeful that the constitution-making process would be smooth.

And King Mswati, the last of Africa’s absolute monarchs, said he had missed President Lungu’s inaugural ceremony and was desirous to come to Zambia to officially extend his congratulations to the Head of State following his election in January.

King Mswati, who paid a courtesy call on President Lungu on the sidelines of the 25th African Union summit that closed yesterday, said he was eager to strengthen the diplomatic relations with Zambia and to work closely with the Zambian Head of State.

The Swaziking said his Kingdom would like to explore ways of how Zambia and Swaziland could increase their trade and improve the lives of the two peoples.

He said apart from Zambia and Swaziland sharing similar cultural values, the two countries had similar challenges which could only be resolved if the diplomatic ties were strengthened.

King Mswati said Zambia and Swaziland should be able to sit and dialogue on how best they could tackle the common challenges facing the two countries.

He said his kingdom was doing well but that he needed close interaction with President Lungu whom he has also invited to attend the popular Reed Dance later this year.

“Your Excellency, I was not home when you were elected President and during your inauguration and I would like to come to Zambia. Zambia and Swaziland share a lot of commonalities culturally as well as the challenges. We should be able to sit and strategise on how best we can deal with our challenges but we should also boost trade and commerce between us,” King Mswati said.

And President Lungu said King Mswati could come to Zambia at any time convenient enough to him and that Zambia and Swaziland were countries in the same region and should therefore encourage their people to trade and interact.

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