PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has gone on a diplomatic charm offensive to court Zambia President Hichilema Hakainde’s support ahead of next Wednesday’s elections.
Hichilema is the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) organ chair on politics and defence.
He recently appointed Nevers Mumba as the head of Sadc Electoral Observation Mission.
Mnangagwa dispatched his special envoy, Patrick Chinamasa, the Zanu PF secretary for Finance, to brief Hichilema on the country’s election preparedness.
The meeting took place late last month.
“Friday 28 July 2023, I was a guest at the State House in Zambia as President ED Mnangagwa’s special envoy to Zambian President His Excellency H Hichilema. I went to brief President Hichilema on Zimbabwe’s state of preparedness for the harmonised elections slated for August 23,” Chinamasa said in a statement.
In addition to providing an update on Zimbabwe’s electoral landscape, [Patrick] Chinamasa extended Mnangagwa’s invitation to Hichilema to send a Zambian delegation to observe the elections.
“At the conclusion of my brief, I conveyed President Mnangagwa’s invitation to President Hichilema to send a Zambian delegation to observe our elections, in addition to the Sadc delegation,” Chinamasa said.
- Is military's involvement in politics compatible with democracy?
- Mr President, you missed the opportunity to be the veritable voice of conscience
- ED to commission new-look border post
- Zanu PF ready for congress
Hichilema, a former opposition leader, is seen as a close ally of Mnangagwa’s arch rival Nelson Chamisa. Chamisa was invited to Hichilema inauguration in 2021.
Chinamasa said he also took the opportunity to discuss broader regional issues.
He urged Zambia to use its influence and lobby for the lifting of sanctions imposed by Western countries against Zimbabwe.
Political analyst, Farai Gwenhure, believes Mnangagwa wants regional support in the event of a disputed election.
“By gaining Hichilema’s support, Mnangagwa aims to secure regional backing and legitimacy, which could potentially help in resolving any post-election disputes and maintaining stability in Zimbabwe,” Gwenhure said.