The presidents of Malawi, South Africa and Mozambique have shunned Zambia despite official invitation to attend the Ncwala ceremony in Eastern province.
And President Michael Sata has also ditched his cadre paramount chief Mpezeni at the last minute by heading in the opposite direction instead of Mutenguleni where he was advertised as guest of honour.
The Ncwala ceremony, one of the most popular and biggest traditional ceremonies takes place today but this year’s event has been shunned by most people mainly due to the behaviour of Chief Mpezeni.
When Mpezeni was assured that Presidents Jacob Zuma, Joyce Banda of Malawi and Armando Emílio Guebuza, the Mozambican leader would join Michael Sata at his palace, he said he will not invite any opposition politicians from Zambia.
See the pronouncements here:
But the Watchdog has been informed that all the three presidents have turned down the invitations sent by Zambia early this month.
During the few days Emmanuel Mwamba served as Permanent Secretary for Eastern province, he told journalists that apart from the three presidents, King Goodwill Zwelithini of the Zulu people in South Africa will also be invited.
Mwamba said Mpezeni requested his office to facilitate the invitations to the dignitaries.
Mwamba said his office would forward the request of the paramount chief to the ministry of foreign affairs in order to facilitate the invitations to President Zuma and King Zwelithini.
“We shall forward the request to the ministry of foreign affairs in order to facilitate the invitations of President Zuma and King Zwelithini,”he said.
But ministry of Foreign affairs sources say all three presidents declined citing various engagements on the date the ceremony.
During Rupiah Banda’s rule, if all the three regional leaders where the Ngoni Empire extends did not attend, at least one of them would join RB.
As late as Friday evening, Sata was still billed to be the guest of honour in Chipata. But in his donchi kubeba style, Sata just sent his uncle Alexander Chikwanda to go and represent him.
Information filtering in indicates that Sata could be headed to Livingstone to campaign.
Apart from Zimbabwean dictator, no president has ever visited Zambia from the time Sata became president. Even Presidetn Jacob Zuma who was in Zambia almost every six months has stopped coming.