Spiteful move … After being snubbed by Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema,Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa invited Zambia’s former President Edgar Lungu instead
HARARE – Angolan president João Lourenço and Zambia’s Hakainde Hichilema, the two most powerful men in SADC currently, are both shunning the inauguration of Zimbabwe’s president-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa following disputed elections.
Angola is currently chair of the 16-nation regional grouping SADC, while Zambia chairs the SADC Troika, which is responsible for promoting peace and security in the region.
Hichilema is yet to publicly congratulate Mnangagwa. He sent his foreign minister Stanley Kakubo to Monday’s event at the National Sports Stadium.
In what appeared to be a spiteful move, Mnangagwa invited Zambia’s former president Edgar Lungu.
Hichilema and Lourenço are not alone in giving Mnangagwa’s inauguration a miss. In fact only South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, DRC leader Felix Tshisekedi and Mozambique’s Felix Nyusi are attending from the region, while other leaders have sent representatives.
Mnangagwa won a controversial re-election on August 23 but poll monitors, including the SADC Election Observer Mission, said the election did not meet regional and international standards. They cited police bans on opposition rallies, delays in delivering ballot papers to opposition strongholds, a flawed delimitation process and voter intimidation.
Zimbabwe has reacted angrily to the unprecedented criticism by the SADC team, which was led by Zambia’s former vice president Nevers Mumba.
Speaking to Zambian media on Sunday, Mumba said he had handed over the SADC Election Observer Mission’s final report to Hichilema, in his capacity as chairman of the SADC Troika.
Mumba said he was “addicted to justice” and noted that coups sweeping across Africa had their genesis in flawed elections.
He added: “Let’s not act like we don’t know what’s happening on the continent of Africa, the coups that are happening in the western part of our continent. How did they start?
“President Hichilema just said to me go and give Zimbabweans a free and fair election. We care only about what the people on the streets of Zimbabwe think, not on the attacks from politicians.
“I didn’t go to Zimbabwe as a Zambian, I took the SADC instrument. If Zimbabwe has a problem with the report, they must go to SADC.”
Underwhelming … Cuban special envoy Pedro Nunez Mosquera delivered a congratulatory message to President Mnangagwa on September 3, 2023
Citizens Coalition for Change leader Nelson Chamisa has called for fresh elections managed by SADC and the African Union, but Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF party are determined to make their declared victory stick.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said Mnangagwa won with 52.6 percent and Chamisa was second with 44 percent. Chamisa said the figures were “fictitious,” but his party has not presented its own tallies after police arrested 41 monitors who were conducting parallel vote tabulation._ ZimLive.com