By Jeff Kapembwa
Lusaka - Africa’s sovereignty is independent of any semblance of colonialism and its people are free to make decisions on the type of leadership they need which should be respected by all outsiders, Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu has said.
Africa and its people have the capacity to decide their own destiny on the style of leadership they want which should not be imposed by outsiders; hence it is unacceptable for any non African to dictate how the continent should be governed.
Speaking in Lusaka last week when he met outgoing Sudanese Ambassador to Zambia, Award Ali, President Lungu warned against foreign interference in the affairs of the African people by foreigners who wanted to dictate or impose to them the type of leadership they should have, noting that the continent was devoid of any colonialism hence its sovereignty must be respected.
Africa was slowly choosing how its people should be governed and what structures of governance or institutions should be put in place in accordance with the types of democracies they adopt and no one should interfere, Lungu said without giving specific references.
He reiterated Zambia’s commitment to cooperating with bodies that it was a member of in Africa. African countries can only grow if they realise their potential and work together to enhance growth.
Zambia, Lungu added, was closely following the developments in Sudan and leading to the new format in the system of governance. Zambia remained committed to strengthening relations with Sudan to improve the lives of its people as Zambia seeks to learn best practices in the agricultural sector from Sudan.
The Sudanese envoy praised Lungu for Zambia’s participation at various regional bodies and hailed him for his desire to see lasting peace on the continent.
Last December, Zambia complained over alleged interference in the governance of the country by former United States ambassador assigned to the Southern African country, Daniel Foote, over the jailing to 15 years imprisonment of two men that were charged with practicing acts of homosexuality.
Foote said he was horrified by the Zambian judge sentencing the two men to 15 years for practicing sex in 2017. The US envoy had asked the Zambia’s government to instead review the case and its homosexuality laws, a move which riled President Lungu’s administration, accusing the diplomat of trying to dictate policy. Later Lungu declared him persona non grata.
Lungu later complained about Ambassador Foote’s remarks contending it contravened Zambia’s laws of nature and that it was better he left even if Zambia risked losing its annual $500 million in American aid. Zambia is a deeply a conservative society where homosexual acts are illegal.
The United States government has since recalled Foote following his criticism over government and the judicial decision to send the gay couple to prison. Foote had also accused some government officials of stealing millions of dollars of public funds.
Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Joe Malanji, expressed misgivings at the behaviour of the US ambassador.
"You cannot ask a government to make a decision at gun point - 'because we are giving you aid, we want you to do this' - you can't," he said.