President Edgar Lungu and South Africa president Jacob Zuma have suddenly struck something of a telepathic relationship. The duo has exchanged notes a little too often to raise the suspicion as to what they could be up to?
Interestingly Zuma is a man too under incessant fire in his homeland having narrowly survived a no confidence motion in parliament. Zuma is also battling to hold the ANC ship together as it teeters on the brink of disaster with factions emerging ahead of the December congress that is set to choose Zuma’s successor. Factions are emerging within the African National Congress with prospective successors being lined up by different groupings within the ANC.
Zuma has very much been a man under fire and could Zambia’s Lungu be the man providing a shoulder to lean on? After all President Lungu is a man too under extreme pressure back home. He has had to deal with vicious fall outs within the ruling Patriotic Front that has seen a shadow presidential race being propped up.
It has not helped that President Lungu has offered himself as a candidate for the 2021 general elections putting him on the ballot for the third time. Not everyone has welcomed that quiet declaration for 2021 with possible heirs waging private wars. It is not a secret that there are those that fell out of the race after President Michael Sata died and only receded to the background to plot a comeback.
Possible rivals for President Lungu although they dare not openly challenge him yet are Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba, Justice Minister Given Lubinda and expelled Roan Member of Parliament Chishimba Kambwili still fancies his chances of squeezing in the PF when the race opens.
With the bond between President Lungu and Zuma looking stronger it seems to have also driven opposition political parties between the two countries closer. Opposition United Party for National Development president Hakainde Hichilema and Democratic Alliance (DA) president Mmusi Maimane have struck some recognizable public partnership. Maimane has openly rendered his support for Hichilema and recently hosted him after he was released from prison.
With all the criss-cross of Zambian and South African politics what then does the Zuma and Lungu romance mean for Zambian politics? Two leaders at the heart of survival battles within their ranks leaning on each other’s shoulders, could this be an alliance of convenience or well-intended brotherly bond.