Zim-Zambia relations turn sour under Hichilema’s leadership

Hichilema Mnangagwa

In a sharp departure from the historical warmth between Zambia and Zimbabwe, relations have become strained under the leadership of Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, political commentator Nobleman Runyanga has stated.

Runyanga asserts that the current Zambian administration has neglected the deep-rooted “Siamese twin” bond that once flourished under former Zambian leaders such as Edgar Lungu and Michael Sata.

The United Party for National Development (UPND), led by President Hichilema, has been accused of instigating aggressive social media and press campaigns against Zimbabwe’s leadership, particularly targeting President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the ruling party, ZANU PF.

Joseph Kalimbwe, a member of the UPND, has been singled out by Runyanga as a chief provocateur, allegedly using his social media influence to cast President Mnangagwa in a negative light, labeling him a “dictator” and a “looter,” while painting the liberation movements as embodiments of authoritarianism.

Runyanga points out that the discord between Zimbabwe and Zambia was seeded pre-election and not only persisted but escalated during and after the election period.

“It was an incessant barrage of insults, unleashed almost hourly, and it seemed calculated to provoke a response,” Runyanga stated.

According to Runyanga, the once-restrained members of ZANU PF felt compelled to retaliate as the attacks grew more personal and unfounded.

Runyanga commented, “This was not the neighborly conduct we’ve seen in the past. The UPND, using figures like Kalimbwe, spoiled the relationship, forgetting the shared history and mutual respect that had long bolstered the ties between our nations.”

Runyanga added that the fallout marks a significant shift in regional dynamics, given the countries’ intertwined liberation history and past collaborations.

As the accusations of authoritarianism from the Zambian side continue, there is a call for introspection and a return to the diplomatic etiquette that has long characterized the inter-state relationship.

Runyanga urges, “There needs to be a concerted effort to rebuild bridges, to foster the spirit of unity that once defined us.”

The decline in relations has not only been a topic of consternation among political analysts but has also caught the attention of regional bodies interested in maintaining stability within the Southern African region.

With these developments, it remains to be seen how both nations will navigate this diplomatic quagmire and if they can return to their former camaraderie, essential for regional cooperation and progress.


  1. The problem with the UPND is that everyone is a spokesperson and they know it all.
    There issues that are ok for everyone to comment and there sensitive issues better left to those that are experts in the field of diplomacy.
    Let UPND tame some of thses chaps.

  2. Why do Zimbabweans want to draw us in their issues? It’s like they wanted Zambia to support them even when they do wrong things. How many times have Zimbabweans attacked our president but he has not made comment against Zimbabwe.
    Besides, we will just be fine with or without Zimbabwe relation. Under the former president late Levy Mwanawasa the relationship was not cordial but we were doing just fine.
    Respect is a two way thing so Zimbabwe respect us as they expect us to do same.

  3. I don’t agree with the author because nothing has changed in relations between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Some misunderstandings started when Patrick Chinamase wrote the bad letter threatening to kill our president as they did to LPM. Then things became worse when Nevers Mumba gave a preliminary report on behalf of SADC election observer mission in Zimbabwe. On the day of inauguration, Lungu and other high ranked PF officials attended the ceremony which also included SP leader M’membe. This same group made a seditious video in Zimbabwe denouncing HH and his government. Mnangagwa allowed these people to do what they did under his watch at the expense of his good relations with HH and the said good and warm relations between Zambia and Zimbabwe. So with all those developments, what could HH have done to save the good relations between his country and Zimbabwe. What did Mnangagwa do to help the situation? Nothing. If the relations are strained, is it HH’s fault? No. You can’t go to celebrate, eat and drink with a person who is threatening to kill you, unless you are not normal. Life is always priority number one for everyone, you can’t risk it for the sake of maintaining good relations between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the countries will always be there but you if you die, you will be no more. We can’t compromise the safety of our dear president, if Zambia-Zimbabwe relations are sour, let them be, but life should go on .

  4. The author is useless, you don’t drag the whole government over social media rantings,. besides here in Zambia we don’t even know that chap you engaged in insulting each other. Be real don’t answer social media rantings.

  5. I support HH on this, why should Zambia engage a criminal such as Manangagwa. He is as corrupt as lungu, maybe they came from the same test tube experiment


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