2 April 2018

Zambia: VJ Says Expulsion of Cuban Envoy a Joke

Photo: Zambia Reports
Cuban Ambassador Nelson Pages Vila and Socialist Party leader Fred M'membe.

Veteran politician Vernon Johnson Mwaanga has described the expulsion of Cuban ambassador Nelson Pages Vilas as an extreme reaction which first struck him as a joke.

Mwaanga says the decision was ill advised, extreme and inconsistent with what happened in the past.

"Just in case memories have conveniently faded, in 2011 when PF held its Convention at Mulungushi Rock, they formally invited the then American Ambassador to Zambia, Mark Storella to attend, accompanied by a political affairs officer from the US embassy and while there, he announced that the United States of America, supports democratic developments, when ever they occur.

"I was then a member of the MMD government of then President Rupiah Banda and no issue was made of Ambassador Storella's attendance or remarks he made there," said Mwaanga.

BELOW IS A FULL STATEMENT

Expulsion of the Cuban Ambassador to Zambia is an extreme over reaction. Statement by Dr Vernon J Mwaanga.

When i first heard about the expulsion from the country of the Cuban Ambassador, for attending the launch of the Socialist Party and for the general public remarks of support, attributed to him, i thought it was a 1st April fools day joke.

It has now turned out to be true and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has been directed to work out the diplomatic channels to put this Presidential decision into effect. I hold no brief for what may have happened or said at the launch of the Socialist Party on Saturday 31st March and my views on Socialism in Zambia, are a matter of public record. This decision is ill advised, extreme and inconsistent with what happened in the Past. Just in case memories have conveniently faded, in 2011 when PF held its Convention at Mulungushi Rock, they formally invited the then American Ambassador to Zambia, Mark Storella to attend, accompanied by a political affairs officer from the US embassy and while there, he announced that the United States of America, supports democratic developments, when ever they occur. I was then a member of the MMD government of then President Rupiah Banda and no issue was made of Ambassador Storella's attendance or remarks he made there. This decision to expel the Cuban Ambassador is extreme and uncalled for. At the most, he should have been summoned to the Foreign Ministry and given a demarche. It does not augur well for our relations with Cuba, a country which has been supportive of Zambia in good and bad times.

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