Despite their frosty relationship, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe Thursday mourned the late Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, saying his death was a blow to the southern African region.
Mwanawasa died in a French hospital Tuesday, about two months after suffering a stroke during the last African Union summit in Egypt.
He was very critical of Mugabe’s rule in Zimbabwe, at one point describing the neighbouring country as a ‘sinking titanic.’
The relationship between Zambia and Zimbabwe sank to the lowest level earlier this year when Mwanawasa, as chairman of the regional Southern African Development Community (SADC) group, convened an emergency meeting over Zimbabwe’s election-related political upheavals.
Mugabe described Mwanawasa’s move as unfriendly, and stayed away from the meeting.
In his condolence message Thursday, Mugabe said he had been deeply shocked and saddened by the Zambian leader’s death.
“It was with profound shock and sorrow that I learnt of the untimely death of our dear brother and colleague, His Excellency President Levy Mwanawasa,” he said in the message to Zambian acting President Rupiah Banda.