Zambia’s Interim President Dr Guy Scott paid a courtesy call on Sadc Chair President Mugabe here yesterday, and the two leaders discussed “a number of issues”. Dr Scott declined to disclose further details when he spoke to journalists after the closed-door deliberations.
He said: “(The meeting) was on a number of issues. We are very good personal friends. We have run our countries which have been together in the same boat for a very long time; former Rhodesians yes.
“If (as you say) we are Rhodesian Siamese twins. . . Yes, we are both Zs and if you want to call us Siamese twins that’s it.” Dr Scott attended high school in Zimbabwe.
President Mugabe is in Zambia for today’s expected inauguration following last week’s Presidential by-election triggered by the death in late 2014 of President Michael Sata.
Zimbabwe and Zambia enjoy fraternal relations with roots in the fight against colonialism.
From 1953 to 1963, they were part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland together with Malawi (then Nyasaland).
Zambia gained independence in 1964 and supported Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle by providing sanctuary to guerillas, nationalist leaders and refugees.
The cordial relations encompass robust economic and cultural ties.
In 2009, the two neighbours embarked on one of their biggest joint projects with the launch of Chirundu One-Stop Border Post. The port — one of Africa’s busiest — has eased congestion and customs clearing. Four years later, they jointly hosted the highly successful 20th General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.
This was only the second time Africa has hosted the event and was a first for Southern Africa.
At a dinner hosted by a group of Zimbabweans living here on Friday, President Mugabe, who taught in Zambia in the 1950s, lauded the historic relations.
“I want to appreciate that you thought over some period that you, as Zimbabweans, will not forget Zimbabwe as your homeland. That it was necessary to remind yourselves that without Zimbabwe you would not have been; but doing this in the Republic of Zambia and therefore recognising the dual nature of your being and recognising that Zimbabwe and Zambia are twins born of a generous mother who decided to give natural resources to those countries,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, by the time of writing, ruling Patriotic Front candidate Mr Edgar Lungu held a slight advantage over his main rival Mr Hakainde Hichilema with 47,96 percent of the vote to 47,17, according to figures from the Electoral Commission of Zambia.
The final tally was due last night after counting of votes from the remaining four constituencies that were considered Patriotic Front strongholds.
Mr Hichilema, one of Zambia’s richest businessmen, claimed rigging in favour of Mr Lungu, who is Zambia’s defence and justice minister.
Electoral observers, however, have said the poll was free and fair.
Voter turnout was estimated at 32 percent as heavy rains disrupted voting across swathes of the country.Earlier in the day, Zambians protested against Mugabe’s presence in Zambia, chanting “Mugabe must go”!