Harry Kalaba


Morning Zambia!
Yesterday I made an earnest appeal to government to step back and do some introspection into the presidential turnout at the just ended AU Summit. As anticipated, besides my reminder for a time out to trigger happy attackers, I received a barrage of messages questioning my motive from people who clearly need to understand how diplomacy works. I want to take some time to share my experience to those who will care to read and listen on how these summits are managed.

While the AU has a standing list of the expected dignitaries including heads of state, it is the duty of the host country to appoint an envoy who is sent to the different countries to seek their participation. This is a gesture of goodwill to the would be participant. The task the special envoy has is to make a representation on behalf of the hosting country and seeking the participation of other heads of state.

In this regard, President Hakainde should have assigned his senior diplomat in Hon. Kakubo to visit all the countries whose presidents should have attended the Lusaka summit to lobby their Presidents to attend the summit. It is at this stage where pertinent issues are equally brought to the would be participants to seek their support ahead of the meeting.

International Diplomacy is therefore a factor of personal engagement and relationship building. It is this aspect that makes a difference between successful events and those that flop like the just ended Lusaka summit. By contrast this country has held successful international events and the New Dawn government should have simply engaged those with the relevant expertise and institutional memory to help with the preparation for the AU Summit.

While we failed to reach out to other countries within the region to lobby for their heads of state to attend the AU Summit in Lusaka, the President had the time and energy to invite himself on a Europe tour which resulted in his request to visit France being rejected owing to elections that where taking place in that country. This is yet another example of failure to understand diplomacy. The New Dawns government’s random actions of fraternizing the West, have resulted in Zambia being alienated from the rest of Africa.

It is this aspect that requires serious introspection. President Hakainde has the inescapable duty of building the nation and ensuring the country continues to enjoy good relations with her neighbors and no amount of attack on the opposition will change that.

This country was build on the values and principles of Pan Africanism, any responsible leader would make frantic efforts to preserve that than seek to have the country recolonized. What will it benefit us to win accolades from the West but lose our place on the Pan African table? It is my humble call to the President to take stock of his action and realize that Zambia is in Africa.

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