THE Zambian government on 01 April expelled the recently installed Cuban Ambassador to Zambia for breaching diplomatic protocol by attending the launch of a socialist party led by former Post Newspaper owner Dr. Fred M’membe. The Patriotic for Economic Progress – PeP in a press statement issued in Lusaka the capital today criticized the ruling government for the stance taken citing that the decision was harsh, impulsive and overboard, as it did not reflect the true nature and circumstances of the transgression. PeP leader Mr. Sean Tembo stated that much as there is no question that the actions of the Cuban Ambassador to publicly render political support to a Zambian political party, were wrongful, inappropriate and a violation of internationally established diplomatic norms, it was important for government to consider the circumstances in which the Ambassador committed this transgression.
Mr. Tembo acknowledged that Cuba is one of the last remaining staunch socialist countries in the world and as such it is somehow understandable that the Cuban Ambassador could have been carried away in the midst of fellow socialists and therefore said inappropriate things. Mr. Tembo took cognizance that the Cuban Ambassador has only been accredited to Zambia for less than a week and was therefore not yet familiar with the Zambian political landscape.
“The Patriots for Economic Progress, are agreeable that government had to take some action against the Cuban Ambassador for his transgressions, yet what we disagree with is the gravity of the action taken to expel him’” Mr. Tembo said. In our view, the Government should have only reprimanded the Cuban Ambassador and if he committed a similar transgression in future, then a stiffer action such as expulsion could have been considered, he said. The PeP press release further revealed that government must understand the existence of a thin line between protecting the sovereignty of Zambia from external influences and exhibiting dictatorial tendencies to the outside world. The impulsive and harsh action of expelling the Cuban Ambassador has the potential to cast the country in bad light in the eyes of the international community, as intolerant and undemocratic, much to the detriment of our ability to attract and retain the much needed Foreign Direct Investment -FDI.
The Patriots for Economic Progress, urged government to act in a more measured, sober and restrained manner in dealing with the country’s diplomatic relations in the future.
More articles on Zambian Diplomatic relations