BY MOSES MATENGA
MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has been invited to attend new Zambian leader Hakainde Hichilema’s inauguration on Tuesday.
Hichilema’s United Party for National Development (UPND) has close ties with the MDC Alliance.
Chamisa has also met the incoming Zambian president several times as part of a regional network of opposition parties led by South Africa’s Mmusi Maimane.
UPND and MDC Alliance officials confirmed that Zimbabwe’s mainstream opposition leader was expected in Lusaka for the historic occasion, but they could not give further details.
Chamisa was not reachable to confirm whether he was travelling to Zambia following the invitation.
MDC Alliance secretary for international relations Gladys Hlatywayo, who last week met with Hichilema soon after his victory, was also not available for comment.
Joseph Kalimbwe, one of the key members of Hichilema’s campaign, said on Twitter MDC Alliance was the only political party in the region that supported UPND ahead of Zambia’s hotly-contested August 12 elections.
Hichilema defeated President Edgar Lungu by over a million votes. Kalimbwe said the UPND must never forget its allies when it assumes power in Zambia.
“My support for the struggles of friends and comrades across our continent (Zimbabwe, Namibia, Tanzania — Africa) is unwavering — it will never stop,” he tweeted yesterday.
“They chose the hard path of supporting our UPND struggles when others refused to associate with us in the opposition.”
Senior government officials were last week forced to react to social media debate about what UPND’s victory meant for Zimbabwe given its relationship with the MDC Alliance.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa said those who thought that the Zambian story would repeat itself in Zimbabwe were dreaming in statements that were seen as directed to Chamisa.
Mnangagwa is also travelling to Zambia for the inauguration.
Zambian Information and Broadcasting Services ministry permanent secretary Amos Malupenga said Hichilema’s inauguration ceremony would be strictly by invitation because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2017, Chamisa and the late MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai were invited to attend the inauguration of Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo and they held private talks with him after the ceremony.