ZANU PF has embarked on a diplomatic offensive visiting neighbouring Zambia as it frets over opposition leader Nelson Chamisa’s cosy relationship with President Hikainde Hichilema.
Hichilema, president of the United People for National Development (UPND), has been leading the opposition for nearly two decades until his electoral triumph last year.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba has made statements against Hichilema, UPND and its spokesperson Joseph Kalimbwe since the party won elections in Zambia in August.
He called Hichilema a sellout.
In a bid to mend relations ahead of elections, Zanu PF dispatched a delegation led by secretary for administration Obert Mpofu to Zambia where they met the UPND party leadership on Tuesday.
The UPND was represented by chairperson Stephen Matuku.
In a statement, Mpofu said Zanu PF respected the UPND’s “legitimacy and integrity to govern” and pledged its support to the Zambian ruling party.
“We fully respect the UPND for being a purely home-grown opposition whose agenda is more internally influenced than it is externally enforced,” Mpofu said.
In a bid to drive a wedge between the Chamisa-led Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) and UPND, Mpofu said the latter had no history of calling for sanctions. Zanu PF accuses the opposition of calling for sanctions against Zimbabwe.
“First and foremost, UPND’s rise to power was a result of a democratic electoral process. The UPND has no record of inviting external measures to destabilise Zambia’s economy. The UPND is not famed for instigating external measures which paralysed the health sector to generate a public outcry for regime change in Zambia.
“The UPND’s rise was never influenced by external pressure which compromised the rights of the ordinary men, women and children in Zambia. Therefore, we respect the UPND’s legitimacy and integrity to govern and we will be committed to support it whenever need continues to arise at any moment,” Mpofu said, adding that during the meeting the two ruling parties agreed not to interfere in each other’s affairs.
“Zanu PF and UPND also identified various areas of mutual interest especially with regards to the need for the effective implementation of democracy and good governance values for sustainable nation-building goals in Zambia and Zimbabwe,” he said.
“We have agreed to also normalise an increased frequency of high-level meetings between our parties. We also agreed not to interfere in each other’s internal affairs.”