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Former Zambian President Lungu to attend Inauguration as tensions between Mnangagwa, Hichilema continue to simmer

By Darlington Gatsi

PRESIDENT-ELECT, Emmerson Mnangagwa has extended an invitation to former Zambian leader Edgar Lungu to attend his Inauguration slated for Monday amid tensions between Harare and Lusaka.

Mnangagwa who won last month’s plebiscite will be sworn in Monday for second and final term at the helm of Zimbabwean government.

The 80 year old has extended an invitation to his ally Lungu as tensions between him and Zambia’s president Hakainde Hichilema are reportedly escalating.

Hichilema, who is also Southern African Development Community (SADC) chairperson of organ on politics, defence security and security cooperation, was a subject of target from the ruling party Zanu PF after last month’s general elections.

Hichilema as part of his duty as the SADC chairman on politics, defence security and security cooperation deployed an observer mission to Zimbabwe led by Zambia’s former vice president Nevers Mumba.

The mission delivered an adverse preliminary report which discredited Zimbabwe’s general elections as flawed and failing to meet regional standards.

This, rattled Zanu PF and government ministers who jostled to castigate Mumba, labelling him a puppet of opposition.

The SADC preliminary report was cemented by the opposition which is disputing last month’s elections results.

As other leaders are congratulating Mnangagwa for his 52.6 percent victory, Hichilema has reserved his message.

Hichilema, a once opposition leader in Zambia, is a close ally of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa.

Zimbabwean embassy at the behest of government in a letter invited Lungu – Hichilema’s predecessor – for the Inauguration ceremony.

“The Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe presents its compliments to Former President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, the Sixth President of the Republic of Zambia and has the honour to extend an invitation from H.E. the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, H.E. President E.D. Mnangagwa to attend his inauguration on 4 September, 2023 at the National Sports Stadium in Harare, Zimbabwe.

“The late notification is sincerely regretted.

“The Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe avails itself of this opportunity to renew to Former President Edgar Chagwa Lungu the assurances of its highest consideration,” read the letter.

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