Vice-President Saulos Chilima has said Malawi cherishes its relations with neighbouring Zambia because the two countries share a lot in common.
The Vice-President said this was the reason it was important for Malawi to be part of the inauguration of President Edgar Lungu in Lusaka yesterday following his triumph in the recent Zambian elections, according to a statement from the Office of the Vice-President.
The Vice-President’s press officer Pilirani Phiri said Chilima, who returns home today, expressed the sentiments to journalists in Lusaka on arrival on Monday.
The statement also quoted Chilima as having further indicated that the two neighbouring countries share a lot of things which have been cemented by the cordial relations that the two nations enjoy over the years.
Said Chilima: “I am here on behalf of our President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, who is preoccupied with other State matters. I am here representing him at the inauguration. Malawi and Zambia share a lot in common, especially on cultural values, and it is always important to be with our brothers and sisters on occasions like these.”
On arrival at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport on Monday, Chilima was welcomed by Godfrey Malama, Zambia’s Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Malawi High Commissioner to Zambia David Bandawe.
Yesterday, the Vice-President and his wife Mary attended the inauguration ceremony at National Heroes Stadium alongside other foreign dignatories.
The swearing-in ceremony itself, which took place after courts threw out petitions from the opposition citing irregularities of the polls, was full of fanfare and pomp.
Lungu won Zambia’s elections mid last month after narrowly defeating opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema and avoided a rerun after passing the 50-plus-one threshold by a fraction as provided in that country’s new constitution.
Lungu of Patriotic Front came to power in January 2015 after defeating Hichilema to get the mandate of Zambians following the death of Michael Sata in 2014.