In any difficult economic period, people are easily irritable but I can assure you that in terms of the “unspoken nuances” and “intricacies” of international diplomacy, and the massive “hidden benefits” of good neighborliness, this trip would have justified even a larger delegation.
This is the first trip to the DRC by H.E President Lungu since he assumed power in 2015! Need I say more!
In this delegation, there are three provincial ministers (Luapula, North Western and Copperbelt) whose territories border the DRC; the only female gender in the delegation is Livestock & Fisheries Minister Hon Kampamba Mulenga. DRC remains one of Zambia’s largest livestock and agro products markets).
And this is only the second international trip by the President this year.
Yes, Etienne Tshisekedi was an opposition leader who died two years ago, but whose son is it that is now president there? How would President Lungu fail to honour a special invitation from a sister nation without any good reason?
Yes, we in austerity times, but there are certain crucial matters of state that would always be an exception. This was a hugely necessary gesture at state -to- state level.
On the sidelines of the state funeral, President Lungu held tripartite talks with his DRC host and H.E Dennis Sassa Nguesso of Congo Brazzaville. In this meeting the President was accompanied by relevant ministers in the delegation.
And in terms of the inviolability of the “principle of reciprocity” in diplomatic practice, this one day trip was a necessary reciprocal act to honour the DRC president’s visit to Zambia early last year.
Within this year the increased positive exchanges between Zambia and DRC will assure the two peoples of the necessity of sisterhood of these two nations.
(The author is special assistant to the President for press and public relations.)