Zuma’s Visit To Zambia: President Jacob Zuma returned to the country on Saturday evening after a successful working visit to Zambia where he officially unveiled an agricultural commercial show.
The crucial meeting afforded President Zuma and his Zambian counterpart a conducive and a sustainable environment for economic exchanges as well as for the SADC region.
Zuma was met on arrival at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) by President Edgar Lungu. He was accorded a 21-gun salute after which he inspected a guard of honour.
He was accompanied by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana.
Here’s What You Need To Know About The Visit
- President Jacob Zuma was invited by Zambian President
As announced by the presidency, Zuma was officially invited by President Edgar Lungu as a guest honour to the country’s 91st Agricultural and Commercial Show. It was hosted by Agricultural and Commercial Society of Zambia.
During the meeting, the African heads held bilateral talks and discussed various issues of mutual concern including expanding the areas of cooperation to include the political, economic, security and cultural fields.
The agricultural and commercial society of Zambia is the country’s biggest and oldest exhibition firm. It has a history of hosting annual exhibitions for the past 90 years.
- South Africa and Zambia share strong ties, especially in agriculture
Zambia’s 91st Agricultural and Commercial Show was organised under the theme ‘The Promotion of a Green Economy’.
Over the past years, South Africa and Zambia had signed 21 agreements and Memorandums of understanding (MoU), one was in the field of agriculture.
In addition to that, both countries equally have good bilateral political, economic and social relations, underpinned by strong historical ties dating back from the years of the liberation struggle.
- Prior to his visit, the DA challenged Zuma to use his visit to call for the release of Hakainde Hichilema
On the eve of Zuma’s visit, DA leader Mmusi Maimane, in a statement called on President Zuma to use the engagement with ‘dictator ‘ Edgar Lungu to raise South Africa’s strong objections to the crisis unfolding in Zambia.
In particular, Maimane asked Zuma to denounce the inhumane treatment in prison of the Zambian leader of the opposition, Hakainde Hichilema, and call for his immediate release.
Hichilema, the leader of Zambia’s largest opposition party – the United Party for National Development (UPNP) was arrested in April after his motorcade allegedly blocked Zambia President Edgar Lungu’s convoy on a road. He was accused of endangering the president life and charged with treason.
In Zambia, the maximum penalty for treason is death. And since his arrest, Hichilema was denied bail as treason is a non-bailable offence in the country.
On May 25, DA leader Mmusi Maimane, who has been outspoken about Hichilema’s arrest was barred from entering Zambia by some Zambian officials. He had flown into the country to attend Hichilema’s treason trial.
He confirmed the deportation and maltreatment himself on Twitter.
“[The Zambian government sent an] arrest team … to meet me at the airport. Assaulted me & took away my phone so I couldn’t get help,” he wrote.
The rest of the arrest team that the Zambian gov sent to meet me at the airport. Assaulted me & took away my phone so I couldn't get help pic.twitter.com/cdhtO1HY85
— Mmusi Maimane (@MmusiMaimane) May 25, 2017
- President Zuma also visited the first President of the Republic of Zambia, Dr Kenneth Kaunda
On Saturday morning, Zuma took time off his schedule and visited the former statesman at his residence in State Lodge, Lusaka to renew their acquaintances.
The 93-year-old was recently discharged from the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) where he was admitted for medical check-ups.
Dr Kaunda, who had a casual chat with Mr. Zuma said he was honoured to have Zuma around and also assured the President and the nation at large that he is well now.
“I did not think you could find time to come and see me due to your tight schedule, I’m grateful for this gesture. I’m fine and thank you all for the best wishes,” he said.
President Zuma expressed his wishes for good health and many more years of a peaceful and enjoyable retirement for the highly regarded selfless freedom fighter and humanist.
Former President Kaunda, who was in good spirits also spiced up the visit by performing his ‘signature jogging move’, to the amusement of President Zuma and his delegation.
The Zambian statesman is remembered for making Zambia the home of thousands of South African exiles during the struggle against apartheid.
President Jacob Zuma once lived in Zambia during South Africa’s liberation struggle.