Mnangagwa to visit Zambia next week

President Edgar Lungu beads farewell to Newly sworn in Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa during private talks at Sheraton hotel in Harare

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected in Zambia next week for a one-day official visit.

Foreign Affairs Joseph Malanji confirmed that President Mnangagwa will arrive in Zambia on Friday, January 19 2017.

Mr Mnangagwa is currently paying courtesy calls on all SADC leaders after taking over power from Robert Mugabe.

President Mnangagwa visited South Africa last month and met with President Jacob Zuma and was yesterday in Angola to meet that country’s President Joao Lourenco.

A statement issued by the Angolan government said the two leaders would discuss the political situation in Zimbabwe.

Mr. Mnangagwa was also expected to brief Lourenco on preparations for general elections to be held most likely during the second half of the year.

Presidential Spokesperson George Charamba also confirmed the visit saying it was part of a diplomatic offensive being undertaken by the new government to interact and keep them abreast with political developments in Zimbabwe.

“The President is paying courtesy calls on all regional Heads of States and Governments. We started with South Africa last month and we are going o Angola to do the same. We will go to Namibia on Monday then Zambia and Botswana, among other countries. That is the format, if you have been appointed President, you must pay courtesy calls no elders in the region. The visits shall be placed in such a manner which does not inconvenience office work as well as other engagements,” Mr. Charamba said.

And Mr Malanji said Zambia and Zimbabwe have a lot in common, and that as sister countries, they are working on further deepening the existing cordial relations between them.

“Zambia and Zimbabwe share special bilateral relations and we have continued to grow in these relations. As a matter of fact, President Emmerson Mnangagwa will on Friday, January 19, come to Zambia for an official visit,” he said.

Commentators said President Mnangagwa had to gain regional acceptance before venturing into continental affairs with the AU summit scheduled for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Jan. 28 – 29.

Political analyst Jacob Rukweza said Mr. Mnangagwa was going on a diplomatic campaign to gain acceptance from the region following the nature of his ascension to power.

“What is clear is that President Mnangagwa has launched a diplomatic offensive in the region where he is meeting heads of state with a view to fostering acceptance and cordial relations with fellow heads of state and government following his rise to power with the assistance of the military.

“Mnangagwa is eager to be accepted by his peers in SADC and the AU as this will go a long way in giving currency to his legitimacy as a head of state. It is in this regard that he is paying courtesy calls to regional heads of state beginning with his all-weather friends from former liberation movements in South Africa, Angola and then Zambia,” he said.