- Emmerson Mnangagwa issued a late invite to Zambia’s former president, Edgar Lungu.
- Zimbabwe’s state media accused Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema of breaking SADC protocol
- President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to be among a few regional leaders at the ceremony.
In a last-minute move, Zimbabwe’s president-elect, Emmerson Mnangagwa, invited Zambia’s former president, Edgar Lungu, to Monday’s inauguration, to join some regional heads of state.
In a letter sent to Lungu, the Zimbabwean Presidency said: “The late notification is sincerely regretted.”
Lungu lost the presidency to Hakainde Hichilema, who the Zimbabwean government view with hostility after Nevers Mumba, a former vice-president of Zambia, issued a damning preliminary report on Zimbabwe’s general elections.
Mumba was appointed as the head of the SADC Election Observation Mission to Zimbabwe by Hichilema.
This week, the state-run Herald accused Hichilema of breaking SADC protocol by appointing Mumba as the head of the mission.
The newspaper alleges that Mumba has a criminal record.
The state media claimed that Zambia’s deputy ambassador to Zimbabwe, Natasha Chilinjika, who they identified as Hichilema’s sister-in-law, was Lusaka’s link with Zimbabwe’s opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa.
In seeking Lungu’s attention, the Presidency highlighted in the invitation that it wanted to renew “the assurance of its highest consideration (to Lungu)”.
According to a government spokesperson, Nick Mangwana, Namibia’s South West Africa People’s Organisation, the African National Congress in South Africa, Botswana’s Democratic Party, Angola’s People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola, and Mozambique’s Frelimo are the former liberation movements invited.
Rwanda will be represented by its Senate president, François Xavier Kalinda, Tanzania will dispatch Kassim Majaliwa, and Nigeria will be represented by its vice-president, Kashim Shettima.
Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi will make the trip, as will South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi is expected in Harare.
The SADC’s executive secretary, Elias Magosi, also confirmed his attendance.
By the time of going to press, Botswana’s Mokgweetsi Masisi and Namibia’s Hage Geingob had not confirmed their attendance.