Diplomatic rift as Zambia reponds to Zimbabwe insults

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Flag of Zambia
Flag of Zambia

The Zambian government has criticised Zimbabwe for continually heaping abuses on Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, only to turn around and request his assistance in ending Zimbabwe’s post-poll crisis.

Zimbabwe has strongly criticised the Zambian President over his role as the chairman of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), especially after SADC convened an emergency meeting on the Zimbabwe election stalemate.

The state-run Times of Zambia reported Tuesday that Zambia government spokesperson Mike Mulongoti said that Zimbabwe should “quickly resolve its problems by holding free and fair elections” before talking about the sanctions that have been imposed on that country.

Mulongoti was reacting to allegations attributed to Zimbabwean Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa that President Mwanawasa, as the SADC chair, was doing nothing to ensure sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe were lifted.

But Mulongoti said it was surprising that the Zimbabwean government had allowed its newpaper, The Herald, to heap abuses on President Mwanawasa and at the same time ask him to assist the country.

“The Zimbabweans need to exercise humility and show decency because they cannot insult President Mwanawasa and at the same time ask him to help them because as SADC chair he has done what he can,” the Spokesman was quoted as saying.

Throwing his own jab at the Zimbabwean official, Mulongoti said: “It is (not) surprising that Mr Chinamasa, the man who lost the elections, is very vocal and bitter.”

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