ZANU PF acting spokesperson Michael Bimha has said social media posts by Zambia’s ruling United Party for National Development (UPND) spokesperson Joseph Kalimbwe mocking President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government had the potential to damage relations between the two parties.
Kalimbwe made fun of Mnangagwa’s COP26 trip last week where he said the Zimbabwean leader came back empty-handed.
He also ridiculed Mnangagwa for gathering hundreds of ZANU PF supporters at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport on his return from Glasgow as if he had won a trophy. Tweeted Kalimbwe:
Our leader will return to Lusaka and go home peacefully — to continue serving. There will not be airport victory celebrations, we didn’t win any trophy. The country needs fixing — that is what matters most.
Addressing the media in Harare on Thursday, Bimha said both ZANU PF and UPND should use proper channels to communicate rather than using individuals. He said:
Even if I have issues or concerns with the ruling party in Zambia, there are proper channels that should be followed by both parties to communicate, not through individuals.
I cannot just come out and make public comments about the ruling party in Zambia or vice-versa, there are channels that should be followed.
The UPND is seen as close to Zimbabwe’s opposition, MDC Alliance, after inviting its leaders, Chamisa and Tendai Biti and other opposition figures in the region to Zambia President Hakainde Hichilema’s inauguration.
Meanwhile, MDC Alliance deputy spokesperson Gift Ostallos Siziba told NewsDay that Kalimbwe must be accorded his right to free speech. Said Siziba:
Whatever he is saying about ZANU PF is not a lie. If they think Kalimbwe is not telling the truth, ZANU PF should just share the evidence in public.
Who doesn’t know about Mnangagwa’s regime and its ills? Kalimbwe is not just a Zambian citizen, but an African who advocates for democracy and freedom of speech.
The democratic politics of Zambia is not sufficient enough. Without the democratic politics in Zimbabwe, Kalimbwe cannot support the fascism in the ZANU PF government, and so they should let him speak.
It is a wake-up call to ZANU PF because the world is changing. What I can say is that it’s a continental revolution, and things are changing. It’s a wave of democracy.