The President writes ……

My reflections on our tour of Ukraine and Russia

I am aware that many have been questioning the value of my participation in the African Peace Initiative mission to Ukraine and Russia. Often, things are not reported correctly, so I wanted to take the chance to clarify my purpose and goals- and why this is important for Zambia.

My primary aim was to listen, learn and try to understand a war that not only threatens the lives and livelihoods of people in Ukraine and Russia but undermines stability across the world. I personally experienced the terror of sheltering in a bunker while missiles attacked Kyiv. We witnessed a church that had been razed to the ground along with the people who sought shelter within its walls. We heard the arguments from both sides and got to appreciate the seemingly irreconcilable differences and divergent narratives that are driving this war. We understood how hollow mediation or compromise sounds, when people are fighting for their Ives, their rights, and their values.

We are not expecting a solution to this war to emerge from Africa, but Africa needs to be part of the solution. This trip was important to ensure that African voices are not only heard but also that we must have a say in global issues. We need to be part of the discussion and have our views reflected. To do so, we need to stand together. I acknowledge that there are important differences between us, and that we don’t yet speak with one voice. We do, however share a common goal of ensuring that the principles of sovereignty and human rights set out in the UN Charter are upheld on the continent and across the world. We spoke out to both sides on the need to protect these principles in the interests of humanity.

I see this mission as a start on the path to a stronger and more effective African voice that will be good for the continent and the world. We bring strong values of peace and humanity, and we need to demonstrate these values at home as well as abroad. I am committed to this path, and to ensuring that African voices are heard and are a force for good.



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