Veteran Politician and Diplomat Vernon Mwaanga has described as extreme, the expulsion of Cuban Ambassador to Zambia Nelson Pages Vilas.
In a statement, Mr. Mwaanga said when he first heard about the expulsion, he took it as a 1st April Fools Day joke.
“When i first heard about the expulsion from the country of the Cuban Ambassador, for attending the launch of the Socialist Party and for the general public remarks of support, attributed to him, i thought it was a 1st April fools day joke,” Mr. Mwaanga said.
“It has now turned out to be true and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been directed to work out the diplomatic channels to put this Presidential decision into effect. I hold no brief for what may have happened or said at the launch of the Socialist Party on Saturday 31st March and my views on Socialism in Zambia are a matter of public record.”
He said the decision is ill advised, extreme and inconsistent with what happened in the Past.
“Just in case memories have conveniently faded, in 2011 when PF held its Convention at Mulungushi Rock, they formally invited the then American Ambassador to Zambia, Mark Storella to attend, accompanied by a political affairs officer from the US embassy and while there, he announced that the United States of America, supports democratic developments, whenever they occur. I was then a member of the MMD government of then President Rupiah Banda and no issue was made of Ambassador Storella’s attendance or remarks he made there,” Mr. Mwaanga recollected.
He said the decision to expel the Cuban Ambassador is extreme and uncalled for.
“At the most, he should have been summoned to the Foreign Ministry and given a demarche. It does not augur well for our relations with Cuba, a country which has been supportive of Zambia in good and bad times,” he said.
And Activist Laura Miti says the decision to expel Cuban Ambassador to Zambia Nelson Pages Vilas is an over the top action by President Edgar Lungu.
“From my observation, President Lungu’s hatred or fear of Fred M’membe is 2nd only to that he has for HH. In dealing with these two men, he therefore tends to overreact,” Ms. Miti observes.
“So the President has expelled the Cuban Ambassador simply for attending the launch of Fred’s political party. That action is as astoundingly over the top, as HH’s arrest last year.”
Ms. Miti said, “It is at times like this when you realise how desperately the President needs someone wiser, more experienced and less emotional than Amos Chanda and the crew at State House to give him advice.”
“To think the whole State House thought expelling an Ambassador for attending the launch of an opposition party was smart, is remarkable.”