Analysis: Zambia abstains during UNGA resolution on Israel-Palestine vote…should there cause for concern in International Relations?- Amb. Anthony Mukwita

How to become a Tyrant- Amb. Anthony Mukwita

Analysis: Zambia abstains during UNGA resolution on Israel-Palestine vote

…should there cause for concern in International Relations?

Amb. Anthony Mukwita


It’s been three weeks, hours, and some days since the war between Israel and Palestine began leaving about 8000 Palestinians d£ad thousands injured and about 1,400 Israeli´s dead and several injured too but the end to the conflict remains elusive.

If you are in serene Zambia where the only complaints would be concerns on mealie meal prices of and fuel, this conflict fadeth into ether.

You might even wonder, why should it even warrant a discussion, until you crunch the numbers and realise that up to 10 children are dying daily in Gaza as the battle rages high. They could be your son, daughter or mine just think about it.

So, when two days ago the United Nations General Assembly so called UNGA met to discuss a Jordanian resolution for peace, as an international relations analyst, I glowed with hope—hope that the 193-member strong UNGA would end this senseless wanton loss of lives to a halt, even temporarily but I was dreaming yet again.


When the UNGA met amidst lots of high hopes after two failed draft resolutions before the mighty UNSC or United Nations Security Council from Brazil and Russia, it was clear that the stage was set to send a crystal clear message to the world that, either they detested or supported the continued bombardment of militarily strong Israel onto beleaguered Palestine, the world watched and so did I because Zambia a key member of the UN.

When the jury returned with the verdict, Zambia our country, chose to ´abstain´ and not support or reject the resolution for a ceasefire or opening a humanitarian corridor into Gaza to help uplift the lives of the about 2.2 million Palestinians trapped in the world’s largest open-air prison, a colony of Israel.

When Zambia abstained, I got a myriad of queries ´in-box´ asking, ´sir what does it mean that Zambia has abstained? ´

I tried at first to use some wise international relations jargon to explain it but then I realised that at the end of the day, people just need a basic fools guide on what the issue is, and the issue is if it clucks like a duck, it’s a duck but then in diplomacy like in life, there are no quick fixes or silver bullets.

The definition I gave thereof to those that follow my page is that ´Zambia abstaining´ could mean one of two things: either Zambia cares so much about the cease fire, cessation of hostilities so much but they don’t want to hurt ´friends ‘that might not care about the matter.

The other is ´Zambia doesn’t care about the ceasefire or corridor for humanitarian aid or truce ‘but they can’t say so in public because that might hurt their other friends in diplomacy. ´

In short, Zambia is caught between a hard place and a hard place like 45 other countries while 120 countries of the UN voted for a ´humanitarian truce´ and 14 said nyet, its not easy in diplomacy but many would like to play safe than sorry.


The point, however, is if as a country you feel strongly about your abstinence, you can issue a note to explain for the benefit of your ´friends´ and especially your citizens why you either abstained, voted yes or no, Zambia is yet to explain that but then not many Zambians seem to care about the war in the middle east when the elephant in the room back in this neck of the wood is just food.

Some of you diplomacy followers will recall what former US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld once said regarding issues close to ´abstaining´ here: “because as we know there are ´known knowns´ and there ´er things we know we know. We also know there are ´known unknowns. ‘that is to say, ´there are things we know we don’t know.”
Crazy right? Rumsfeld added, ´there are also unknown unknowns ‘the ones we don’t know we don’t know. ´

I lose count folks but in short, ´we won’t know why Zambia abstained until we know, and we also won’t know whether Zambia abstaining was good or bad´ until we know.

Either way, there are things I personally know as an international relations pundit, ´the loss of 8000 Palestinian lives, 1,400 Israelis and 10 Palestinian children dying daily in a known ´no do´. Let’s give peace a chance because the mornings in three weeks shine not a ray of hope. Every night brings death and destruction in the Colony of Gaza.

I can bet my last bottom kwacha that dozen other beleaguered Palestinians that are now looting shops for crumbs of bread and wheat will be dead tomorrow as the food, energy, and electricity suspensions clock on.

If you are in Zambia, you think the conflict between Israel and Egypt is so far away until you bring down to the short distance between Zambia and Egypt, as we live in an ever-shrinking world.

There´s no need to continue witnessing massive loss of lives on both sides before the fat lady finally sings.

I always say I have no horse in this race, but 120 votes are beginning to convince me that the world is tired of the war, albeit the UNGA resolution is not binding compared to a 15-member strong UNSC resolution, peace must prevail.

Sometimes you must draw a line in the sand and stand a post or fall for anything.

Ambassador Anthony Mukwita is a published author whose new book ´China in Africa the Zambia story is now available on Amazon, Takealot, Goodreads, Gey Matter and Bookworld.


  1. Absolute embarassment on the part of Zambians that were once colonised and given the same Palestinian-status of a lesser-human-than-thy. Shameful !


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