LETTERS

Observe diplomatic etiquette

Dear Editor,

About two weeks ago, UPND president Hakainde Hichilema hosted 15 Western diplomats for lunch at his residence leaving out the African envoys accredited to Zambia. 

It appears the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was not aware of this event. The failure to acknowledge Zambia’s diplomatic channels and procedures by the 15 invited Western diplomats was pregnant with meaning.

The diplomatic luncheon at the UPND president’s residence is one of those events that come along once in a decade, defining and sometimes redefining the political landscape. Let us consider some of the implications. First, the Zambian people have spoken through a solidarity march at the Chinese Embassy. What is the message that they have given the world about the UPND president’s diplomatic luncheon?

Is it that they do not believe that some diplomats are seen to be for the ruling party, PF while others are for the opposition, UPND and so did not factor this into their deliberations with the UPND leadership during the luncheon?

Is it that the Western diplomats believe that the UPND president’s residence should be the place to resolve the issues of the Public Order Act (POA)? The way the Ministry of Foreign Affairs pulled itself from the brink of national scorn showed it has the capacity and maturity to deal with issues of right or wrong, and so, going forward it might mean that the best way of maintaining diplomatic etiquette is to have erring diplomats recalled by their respective governments because of their perceived allegiances? In the 11 August polls, will Zambians react to Western interference by deliberately choosing the opposite presidential candidate to the one hinted as acceptable by Western diplomats? Whatever it is, choices have consequences.

Meaning that a perverse result would remain a perverse result and if countries decide for their own complicated internal reasons to elect leaders accused of selective application of the POA, then other countries are not obliged to ignore their own values to deal with them. The consequences, however, are not solely for Zambians. The consequences in the short term for Western power and policy in Zambia, especially American power, could be humiliating. Albeit, thinly veiled threats have been made about Zambia’s diplomatic isolation and even the possibility of sanctions but the Zambian people have simply ignored them.

What will be the Western diplomats’ response be after the 11 August polls, should the PF presidential candidate emerge victorious? Will he be treated as the representative of the Zambian people or will he be snubbed, thereby snubbing the Zambian people themselves?  If the Western diplomats decide to follow through with the UPND leader, will they not damage their own economic and regional interests in the strategic hub that is Zambia? Will the Western countries listen to what the Zambians would have to say through the ballot box on 11 August, even though the Western diplomats may not like what they will be hearing?

Mubanga Luchembe,

LUSAKA

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Summon Ambassador Schultz

Dear Editor,

I hope Ambassador Schultz will be summoned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to explain his role in the unfolding scenario in which embassies have come at the centre of our political life.

Never before have ambassadors been so embroiled in the affairs of this country. This is not correct because we must be allowed to determine our own destiny.

I truly hope that Mr. Schultz can be invited to warn him against what seems to have become the trend for foreigners to  give direction to this country.

He should not forget that they have theor own campaign problems with Mr. Stump whose campaign sentiuments have riled the entire world.

Ernest Mwango

Categorized | Letters

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