Zambian President Michael Sata’s close ally, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is expected in the country Thursday August 2, to officiate at the 86th Agricultural and Commercial show which opens its gates to the public on the same day.
President Mugabe is the only serving head of State who has ever visited president Michael Sata in Zambia from the time Sata became president.
According to the updates from the meeting of the Standing Committee of Permanent Secretaries on State Functions held last week at Cabinet office in Lusaka, Mr. Mugabe is scheduled to land at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport tomorrow at about 13:00 hours, accompanied by his wife Grace.
He is later scheduled to hold talks with President Michael Sata at State House which will be followed by a state banquet in the evening.
Early this year, the Zambian leader, Mr. Sata, was also the guest of honour for Mr. Mugabe when he officiated at an Agriculture Show in Zimbabwe.
Sata’s friendship and open support for Mr. Mugabe has raised some eye-brows among Western donors and Zimbabwean human rights activists resulting in some protests in Zambian missions abroad.
Early this year, Sata caused a stir during the SADC meeting in Angola when he kept chanting ‘Pamberi ne Zanu PF’ interjecting anyone who dared criticize Mugabe.
But Sata’s home allies at the Post newspaper last Friday attacked those questioning Sata’s friendship with Mugabe labeling them as ‘imperialists who are not used to dealing with people they can’t control’.
In support of Sata’s relationship with Mugabe, the Post wrote in part “We can’t understand why some diplomats in this country, especially those from the United States and Britain, are so concerned about Michael’s relationship with Robert Mugabe. Whoever you meet, the first question they ask you is what you think about Michael’s relationship with Bob. When is this arrogance going to end of them thinking what they like, everyone in this world should like; what they hate, everyone in this world should hate?”
Mugabe is also scheduled to pay a courtesy call on Zambia’s first President Kenneth Kaunda at his office on Friday and later visit SARO Agro Industries within Lusaka.
On the same day, the Zimbabwean Head of State is expected to visit ZAMBEEF Huntley Farm in Chisamba, which is located less than 100 kilometers from the city.
Presidents Mugabe and Sata are on Saturday expected to be at the show grounds for the officials opening of the 86th Agricultural and Commercial show.
The two Presidents will earlier on the same day tour stands and pavilions.
Mr. Mugabe and his wife are expected to leave for Zimbabwe on Sunday morning.