BY MOSES MATENGA
MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has been invited to attend new Zambian leader Hakainde Hichilema’s inauguration on Tuesday.
Hichilema’s United Party for National Development (UPND) has close ties with the MDC Alliance.
In order to ensure transparency during our transition phase until inauguration, Transition spokesperson Anthony Bwalya, will continue holding daily briefings and taking questions from the press. It is through such engagements that we'll ensure that citizens are well informed. pic.twitter.com/1yTvXbwmfw
— Hakainde Hichilema (@HHichilema) August 20, 2021
Chamisa has also met the incoming Zambian president several times as part of a regional network of opposition parties led by South Africa’s Mmusi Maimane.
UPND and MDC Alliance officials confirmed that Zimbabwe’s mainstream opposition leader was expected in Lusaka for the historic occasion, but they could not give further details.
Chamisa was not reachable to confirm whether he was travelling to Zambia following the invitation.
Friends, though I'll be sworn in as President of the Republic of Zambia in 7 days, I'm still your Bally. Goodnight and God bless you all. pic.twitter.com/yii10zJaHn
— Hakainde Hichilema (@HHichilema) August 17, 2021
MDC Alliance secretary for international relations Gladys Hlatywayo, who last week met with Hichilema soon after his victory, was also not available for comment.
Joseph Kalimbwe, one of the key members of Hichilema’s campaign, said on Twitter MDC Alliance was the only political party in the region that supported UPND ahead of Zambia’s hotly-contested August 12 elections.
Hichilema defeated President Edgar Lungu by over a million votes. Kalimbwe said the UPND must never forget its allies when it assumes power in Zambia.
I would like to congratulate my brother, the president-elect, HE, Mr Hakainde Hichilema for becoming the 7th president.
Let me also congratulate all those who participated in this general election and won at various levels. To those who did not, there is always another time.
— Edgar Chagwa Lungu (@EdgarCLungu) August 16, 2021
“My support for the struggles of friends and comrades across our continent (Zimbabwe, Namibia, Tanzania — Africa) is unwavering — it will never stop,” he tweeted yesterday.
“They chose the hard path of supporting our UPND struggles when others refused to associate with us in the opposition.”
By inviting incumbent presidents & main opposition leaders from Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Botswana and other African countries, the #UPND is sending a very strong message not just in Zambia but across Africa; "we must do away with the politics of division based on opposing views" !!!
— Joseph Kalimbwe (@joseph_kalimbwe) August 23, 2021
Senior government officials were last week forced to react to social media debate about what UPND’s victory meant for Zimbabwe given its relationship with the MDC Alliance.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa said those who thought that the Zambian story would repeat itself in Zimbabwe were dreaming in statements that were seen as directed to Chamisa.
— Joseph Kalimbwe (@joseph_kalimbwe) August 22, 2021
Mnangagwa is also travelling to Zambia for the inauguration.
Zambian Information and Broadcasting Services ministry permanent secretary Amos Malupenga said Hichilema’s inauguration ceremony would be strictly by invitation because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2017, Chamisa and the late MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai were invited to attend the inauguration of Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo and they held private talks with him after the ceremony.