Zambia president, Hakainde Hichilema has been criticised for opening the office of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) saying it is against the country’s longstanding neutral foreign policy position of non-alignment.
The New Heritage Party, an opposition in Zambia led by Chishala Kateka has condemned the move. In a statement issued on Friday, the party said:
The New Heritage Party wishes to place on record, its strong misgivings about the announcement by the American General Peter Bailey, that the American and the Zambian Governments have agreed to establish and Locate the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), which is the military command centre for the United States Government against its enemies on the African continent, in Zambia.
Should this project be implemented, it carries very serious national security implications for our country Zambia, including, but not limited to the fact that our country will be indirectly inheriting the enemies of the USA, and thereby making ourselves unwitting targets for terrorists and other such negative forces. This is against our long-standing neutral foreign policy position of non-alignment which has been premised on our being a truly independent sovereign state.
We would like to remind our fellow Zambians that both the AU, SADC and our previous Presidents have taken a negative view of this American initiative as not being entirely in the best interest of the continent, the region and the nation.
This then begs the following questions:
-Why has this ” deal” been struck by the UPND Alliance government barely 8 months in office?
-What are the Americans getting out of it
-But even more importantly, how does Zambia and Zambians benefit from this deal?
May we remind our fellow Zambians that it was the UPND in opposition that insisted that important national foreign policy matters such as contraction of foreign Debt could not be left to the executive alone, but that our sovereign parliament should scrutinize and approve all such undertakings by the government.
National security in our view is even more critical than debt contraction and should therefore be subject to a serious national discourse by the general public and parliament before a final decision can be reached.
Fellow Zambians, make no mistake, this is a very grave matter for our country. The UPND is trying to trade in Zambian lives, and as a serious party of patriots we cannot and will not allow this matter to pass unchallenged.
We therefore demand the following:
1. That this AFRICOM office opening be put on hold immediately until the process of wide democratic consultations we have proposed above are exhausted
2. That the government disclose the full status of this deal to the the Zambians for transparency
3. Further, we call upon every Zambian to petition their area member of parliament to ensure that this matter is tabled as a matter of urgency at the next session of parliament when it resumes.
The Zambia Center for Inter-Party Dialogue (ZCID) should also convene as a matter of urgency to chart a united path over this important national security situation.
Source – Byo24News