Zanu PF and Zambia’s UPND to forge stronger ties

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Harare (New Ziana) – The ruling parties of Zimbabwe and Zambia, Zanu PF and the United Party for National Development (UPND), have agreed to forge stronger ties, in the clearest sign yet of the UPND’s shifting allegiance from opposition to fellow ruling parties in the region.

UPND is a former opposition party which assumed power in Zambia last year after its leader Hakainde Hichilema beat Edgar Lungu in Presidential elections.

The local opposition has since vainly tried to associate itself with UPND’s success, riding on their past relations as opposition parties.

In a bid to align themselves with the new ruling party in Zambia the local opposition in concert with a junior UPND official, Joseph Kalimbwe have tried to stoke tensions between Zanu PF and UPND.

But, in a sign that the two ruling parties had mutual respect for each other and were eager to grow their relationship, a Zanu PF delegation led by Secretary for Administration Dr Obert Mpofu travelled to Zambia where they held cordial talks with UPND officials led by their national chairman Stephen Matuku.

In a statement, Dr Mpofu said ZANU PF and UPND identified several areas of mutual interest, including fostering effective democracy and good governance.

“Given our emphasised terms of ideological convergence going forward, ZANU PF and the UPND will be convening a series of more exchange meetings to explore various strategies of the two parties’ shared economic development aspirations in Zimbabwe and Zambia respectively,” he said.

“We have agreed to also normalise an increased frequency of high level meetings between our parties. We also agreed not to interfere in each other’s internal affairs.”

Dr Mpofu said Zanu PF respected the UPND because it was a home grown party, unlike the local opposition.

“We fully respect the UPND for being a purely home-grown opposition whose agenda is more internally influenced than it is externally enforced. First and foremost, the UPND’s rise to power was a result of a democratic election process. The UPND has no record of inviting external measures to destabilise Zambia’s economy.

“The UPND is not famed for instigating external measures which paralysed the health sector to generate a public outcry for regime change in Zambia. THE UPND’s rise was never influenced by external pressure which compromised the rights of the ordinary men, women and children in Zambia. Therefore, we respect the UPNDs legitimacy and integrity to govern and we will be committed to support it whenever need continues to arise at any moment,” he said.

Dr Mpofu said the meeting, which he described as a “special dialogue session,” had enforced the existing cordial relations between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

“In the past, we have also engaged other former ruling parties in Zambia. Therefore, this should not come as a surprise that we met a fellow ruling party in Zambia and we are going to continuously do the same in the near future,” he said.

“The meeting was also in line with the universal ruling parties’ tradition of constant engagement and consultation. As a result, we shared and we will continue to share our experiences with the UPND. Through the recently held dialogue, we managed to negotiate strategic entry points for future cooperation. We have also done the same with other fellow Former Liberation Movements.”
New Ziana

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