Wed, 07 Jun 2023

LUSAKA, March 29 (Xinhua) -- Zambia's ties with other countries should not be dictated by the United States, experts said on Tuesday.

While Zambia has remained non-aligned for a long time and maintained open policy with all countries, it was surprising that the U.S. government was raising concerns with China's ties with not only Zambia but other African countries, said Brian Mundubile, leader of the opposition in Parliament.

"As Members of Parliament, we question the U.S. foreign policy to try and discern what may be of interest to our country. We do not approve of this sudden influence that the West would like to exert on Zambia over trying to help us choose friends," he said in an interview.

Zambia, he said, was a sovereign state with the capability to choose friends based on mutual benefit, and the country has enjoyed cordial and beneficial relations with China.

"We are the people that know how much assistance and support we have from friends. So these high level visits from the West have indeed raised a number of questions as to what interest these officials have," he said of a visit by U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris to Zambia this week.

He said Zambian lawmakers will not allow a country to malign Zambia's ties with other countries, and they will follow closely what will be discussed during the U.S.-hosted Summit for Democracy, which starts this week.

It will be difficult to have a shared future if some countries were only bent on victimizing and vilifying others, said Mundubile.

Echoing Mundubile, Misheck Mwanza, former executive director of the Zambia Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies, said that countries should be allowed to develop relations with other countries as long as they are mutually beneficial.

He said people should have the right to choose how to be governed because there are variations of democracy and governance.

It was not correct for any particular country to prescribe what was best for other countries because people can make their own choices, said the expert.

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