The opposition United Progressive Party has commended President Edgar Lungu for cordially welcoming and hosting His Excellency Mr. Brahim Ghali the leader of Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
UPP President Savior Chishimba said in a statement that all Zambians should stand shoulder to shoulder with President Lungu and the entire government for courageously correcting a moral wrong and diplomatic blunder which was made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the elections in 2016.
Dr Chishimba stated that UPP issued a comprehensive statement way before elections and immediately after President Edgar Lungu’s trip to Morocco was embarrassingly cancelled by the King of Morocco.
He said the UPP was displeased when Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba announced that Zambia had withdrawn the recognition of SADR.
“Our principled stand, in line with our five year (2017 to 2021) Alternative Foreign Policy Paper, is based on the sterling role Zambia has played in the fight against foreign occupation, oppression and minority regimes on the African continent and elsewhere. Zambia stood tall in the fight against colonial regimes in Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe and for majority rule in South Africa,” Dr Chishimba said.
“Zambia became Chair of the Front Line States to spearhead the final onslaught on foreign rule and minority rule in Southern Africa. Eventually, the vestiges of colonial and minority rule were consigned to the heap of history. Zambia believed that oppression anywhere was oppression in Zambia. Hence, Zambia emerged as having been a proud host of many liberation movements.
Today, those liberation movements are the governments in surrounding neighbouring states as proud state members of the International community.”
Dr Chishimba sad Zambia has, since time immemorial, stood side by side with the people of Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in their fight against forcible Morocco occupation.
“This, Zambia has done through the African Union, the UN, the Non-Aligned Movement and beyond. Zambia has always recognised that Spain still maintains sovereignty over Western Sahara and not Morocco,” Dr Chishimba said.
He said Zambia championed the recognition of SADR as a nation at the AU adding that in 1984, SADR became a full member state of the AU.
Dr Chishimba said that prompted angry Morocco to withdraw its membership of the African Union in the same year to date saying Morocco is illegally occupying SADR and that Zambia has therefore no reason to abandon SADR to get in bed with Morocco.
“To have announced that Zambia had withdrawn recognition of SADR was a function of pure ignorance by the PF Government predominantly because you recognise a state whether you have Diplomatic relations or not. You can only withdraw diplomatic relations with another state if conditions emerge to warrant such final action,” he stated.
“When a country decides to server diplomatic relations with another country, the country is furnished with cogent reasons leading to such a dramatic action. The people of Zambia are therefore still owed an explanation as to why Zambia had decided to stand in solidarity with Morocco which is not a member state of the African Union since Morocco decided to spit upon it when it left in 1984.”
He added, “The earlier decision meant that Zambia had chosen to stand in solidarity with Morocco against the people of SADR, the entire membership of the African Union and, indeed, the international community that supports the holding of a referendum to determine if the people of Western Sahara want to remain or be divorced from Morocco.”
Dr Chishimba said Morocco has openly been moving Moroccans to Western Sahara so that the indigenous people of SADR can be outnumbered before undertaking a referendum saying this act must be condemned by AU and the international community.
“The PF Government cannot be making such blatant diplomatic mistakes 52 years after Independence. It means we have learned nothing in the diplomatic arena all these years we have been in diplomatic practice as a nation,” he said.
He said Zambia, under the UPP Government, shall stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the long-suffering people of SADR as we have done throughout the historic fight for people under oppression.
“It stands to reason that we do so because we shall not abandon Zambia’s principled position on the fight against oppression.”