HH DEMEANS AFRICAN DIPLOMATS
What could be more demeaning than the snub made by UPND president Hakainde Hichilema to African diplomats accredited to Zambia by only inviting diplomats from Western countries to attend a luncheon at his residence?
This action has aptly triggered consternation in the diplomatic community (Daily Nation, February 25, 2016).
And while the country’s amended constitution, appears to have whittled down the massive powers that the Zambian presidency had in the past, it has only elevated the prestige of the office.
The increased clamour for this post reveals a great deal. Apart from Zambian politicians campaigning to succeed the incumbent president, the international community is also overtly involved in determining who would be Zambia’s next president.
Few months before the eagerly awaited polls in August this year that will elect the next president, one major issue that has strongly emerged, and which will have a big impact on the elections, is that of the Public Order Act (POA).
While the fear of the POA has forced politicians to tone down on political incitement, it has become propaganda fodder for Zambian opposition politicians.
Unwittingly, the Western diplomats’ attendance of the luncheon at the
UPND leader’s residence has put the PF leaders on a much-needed trajectory and handed them a golden opportunity to insinuate that the Western powers have somebody in mind who should be Zambia’s next president.
The UPND leader’s lame excuses on the issue pertaining to free and fair elections have not helped matters either, more so when the envoys’ unwarranted sentiments and stance on the repealing of the POA clearly smacks of imperialism. In the end, the UPND leader is being seen as a proxy for Western interests by Zambia’s would-be voters.
PF leaders on the other hand are not afraid to confront the Western envoys and President Edgar Lungu’s defiant posture on the on-going countrywide inspections of developmental projects reflect the pride of an independent nation.
It may still be too early to predict who will be Zambia’s next president, but the POA’s operational challenge is playing an active role in the country’s forthcoming elections.