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Saturday, July 2, 2022

Non-Alignment is not, and has never been Neutrality-Vernon Mwaanga

Headlines Non-Alignment is not, and has never been Neutrality-Vernon Mwaanga

Veteran politician and former diplomat Vernon Johnson Mwaanga has said when a country chooses non-alignment on matters of global peace and security it should not be confused with neutrality.

Citizens have been debating Zambia’s decision to vote in the United Nations General Assembly that Russia withdraws from attacking Ukraine earlier in March, 2022.

Some Zambians have condemned the government of the Republic of Zambia for voting against Russia arguing that the state should have remained neutral in the Russia/Ukraine conflict.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted an important resolution which was voted in, demanding that Russia withdraw from Ukraine.

141 countries voted for the resolution while 35 states abstained and 5 states voted against it.

In a written statement, Ambassador Mwaanga, the ex-Zambia’s envoy to the Soviet Union, said even though it is undeniable that the non-aligned countries have made significant contributions towards making the world a better place, their position has not necessarily contributed to making the world safer or saner.

“I have been following the local debate about non-alignment and whether it is synonymous with neutrality. I decided to share my own views and facts, which I have extensively written about over the years. When the “like minded” third world countries first met as an informal grouping in Bandung, Indonesia, in 1955, they decided that they would be non-aligned. This was at the height of the cold war between the East and the West. The West described this decision as meaning “neutrality”. The East was suspicious of this new force of non-aligned nations. At their first formal meeting of non-aligned nations held in Belgrade in the then Yugoslavia( now Serbia) , they became clearer about not belonging to neither the west nor the eastern blocks. This conference of non-aligned nations was attended by prominent leaders such as Presidents Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Sukarno of Indonesia, Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt and Prime Minister Jarwalal Nehru of India . They declared that they would pursue foreign policies based on ‘peaceful co-existence’, Dr. Mwaanga wrote.

“A few years ago, I addressed a 3000 strong conference of young people in Bandung, Indonesia, from non-aligned countries. Some of these young people also thought that non-alignment countries represented “neutrality”. After the Belgrade Conference of 1961, clearer definitions began to emerge. They made it very clear that non-alignment was not neutrality. At no time at the height of the cold war did the non-aligned nations take sides with the West or the East. It has been the tradition of non-aligned countries in multilateral organisations like the United Nations; always study issues presented on merit and make a determination of what is in the best interests of regional and world peace. They take into account the facts and merits on the ground’s must be quick to point out that they don’t always come to the same conclusions on all issues, as was the case recently in the United Nations General Assembly, where they were discussing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, where non-aligned nations took different positions and voted differently,” said the former Foreign Affairs Minister.

“Let it be clearly understood that non-alignment is not and has never been neutrality. This position was affirmed by the 2nd Non-Aligned Conference which was held in Cairo, Egypt in 1964, upheld this position. At subsequent conferences in Lusaka, Zambia in 1971 and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2003, reaffirmed the relevance of the non-aligned movement and its contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security in the 21st century. It is undeniable that the non-aligned countries have made a very significant contribution towards making the world a better, but not necessarily a safer or saner place,” Dr. Mwaanga concluded.


  1. The explanation above, just raises more questions. So, non-alignment is not neutrality, and it’s not alignment! What is it? Sounds like a mishmash of ideals third world countries subjectively adhere to or discard; a sort of liquorice allsorts – pick and mix!

    #plant a tree please!

  2. Ohh pleas…………

    Just ignore these 1970s cold War freedom fighters………….

    We are in 2022…………Times have moved on , powers have realigned and shifted……

  3. Another old useless upnd cadre who should just rest and leave politics for the newer generations. Give the youth a chance not lyonse commenting. You had your time

  4. A BIG THANK YOU Mr. Vernon Johnson Mwaanga, for clarifying to some of these people.
    We even gave them examples, that ZAMBIA has ALWAYS voted for the RESOLUTION that was put across in the UN, therefore, the voting pattern by this government in favor of the resolution, was NOT against the non-aligned notion.
    I always say educate yourself and have some facts to back you up before you comment on any subject. But you have a bunch i.diots here who would first bark out lies and malicious information before they think. I hope this article now, will help some people to recalibrate their position and retract the insults thrown at this government.

  5. This article appear to have been motivated by recent appointments into foreign service. The qualifications are very clear. He is just updating his CV, who knows…?

  6. Really he’s an old fool, jst ggo ad rest, u hv nothing to offer to the Zambians. Jst tht u come frm the same province with HH tht makes him right to make such decisions, don’t decide for the Zambians, better he ask.

  7. What? Is this a sick joke you have issued VJ? By the way we are not in 1964, we are in 2022 so people like you now belong to the archive so better shut up sir!

  8. Fossil history by a dinosaur politician Mwanga. We don’t need anything from VJ. LT please spare us the trauma

  9. Non-alignment is aligning to what is RIGHT. Zambia voted for Palestine against Israel over and over again. Zambia expelled USSR diplomats over IRS involvement in the Angola civil war. KK met with Voster and De Klerk against the wishes of Nyerere and Machel. Non-alignment is not sitting on the fence while evil thrives, it is standing for the truth even if you will displease friends.

  10. A very good point I for one was unaware thet within the subtelties of diplomatics there is a difference between neutrality and non-alignment and it makes a lot of sense to take each case before the UN on its own merit and vote accordingly. As a Christian nation Zambia has a duty to uphold higher standards then others and the vote must be a morally just one.

  11. No ba VJ no alignment was designed to avoid being in the West or capitalist camp or communist camp. Tito didn’t want especially the third world to be manipulated by either the West or the East

  12. Climate change brings about a phenomenon of fossilization where a dead organism becomes preserved in a form of a rock. VJ Mwaanga has become a FOSSIL just to earn money. Realities are such that both the western powers (USA & Europe) and eastern powers (China & Russia) have generously given aid to Zambia in form of infrastructures and major equipment. Use of major (special aviation) equipment require spare parts to run them sustainably. VJ Mwaanga is behaving like an ostrich pretending Zambia has no vital “assets” from Russia. Since human lifespan now stands at 90 years, Mwaangs should advise HH to invest wisely for the welbeing of future generation in south of Zambia.

  13. Russia ukrain war is about West and the East indirectly. So if one country votes to end the war indirectly that country has supported the west. And vice versa. If you don’t vote it means you have not supported any. That is neutrality

  14. VJ is moving in circles. If one country is not aligned to either East or West that is neutrality.
    The circle of life is in understabding the life itself.

  15. You chaps!!! There is no East or West!!! Communism is DEAD!!! Russia and China have more billionaires than the entire continent of Africa. There are no communist nations except North Korea being led by a narcissist. Communism died with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Fred Mmembe wake up and stop dreaming about some imaginary imperialist checking your mobile phone!!!

  16. Zambia is too polarised, however one explains or clarifies something, small and stunted minds still want to twist facts. VJ has explained very well in simple English. I have learnt a lot from this article, he has given the background/history and the geopolitical position today. Those of you who come from villages where there are no old people, you can accuse him of old age and insult him as if you yourselves will never grow old, may your asses go to the hottest part of hell when you die. In decent and mature countries/Democracies Mwaanga would be celebrated and honoured, yes like all of us he made mistakes but that is not the reason we should disrespect him. How many of you *****s knew the facts he presented here.

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