Editorial: Emmanuel Mwamba: an epitome of diplomatic service

Outgoing Zambian Envoy in South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba

The transferring of Emmanuel Mwamba from South Africa to Ethiopia is a big loss for Zambians that have been benefiting through trade between the countries.

Ever since Mwamba was appointed to be High Commissioner to South Africa, the country which isn’t a neighbor to Zambia appeared more of a village within our reach.

South Africa has the largest number of Zambians in diaspora estimated at about 15,000 people, meaning having a semi constituency of Zambians in South Africa.

This then calls for a pragmatic representative.

South Africa is Zambia’s largest trading partner with $3.8 billion annually according to Zambian Embassy in Pretoria, making it easier for most Zambians to opt to South Africa for business.

Zambia being a trading nation, most of the citizens trek to South Africa to buy products. Sadly some of them have been swindled whilst in South Africa and others died.

It was severally Mwamba who plugged the nation to regular updates in such calamities and made sure bodies were repatriated with the help of Government.

At the moment there are about 40 flights a week into Zambia and five buses leaving either side every day, an indication of the trade between the two nations.

Whoever the President may appoint must be ready to work hard because the boots of Emmanuel Mwamba are too big for any Diplomat to tie the shoe laces.

The large population in South Africa, include people who go to work in various professionals such doctors, nurses, engineers, bankers, teachers and lecturers, and informal sector.

To make it easier for communication, Mwamba with the help of Zambians in South Africa (ZASA) organized the community through a vibrant ZASA.

This helped a lot in reaching out to Zambian’s and keeping and observing the law.

So in short, the transferring of Mwamba has more benefits for him because he will also be a Permanent Representative at the African Union than for Zambians who are struggling to survive through trade.

Mwamba is that diplomat who is likeable his works.

Perhaps, having vast experience in governance and politics in whole, Mwamba has surpassed the expectations of a Zambian as a representative in South Africa.

When calamity stroked any Zambian in South Africa, Mwamba was at the centre of involvement ensuring that the interests of those in such a situation where assisted the Embassy.

He represented the interest of government, on several platforms, including defending government against those that took their political issues and attack government of Zambia through the media in that country.

We do not know the motivation behind the transfer of Mwamba to Ethiopia President Lungu but we are concerned because, South Africa being an African powerhouse, it needs a strong personality as Mwamba.

This is not to suggest that Mwamba holds the monopoly to intelligence and ability to run diplomatic issues better than anyone else.

This is to emphasis that, whoever the President deploys to South Africa must carry over the flag in South Africa and do more, from where Mwamba left.

It is no doubt, Mwamba was a parent to all Zambians in South Africa. We have heard people talk highly of Mwamba and how he made everyone welcome at the Embassy.

These are traits that President Lungu must consider in any replacement of Mwamba.

However, as pointed out already, we are sure that the new assignment that Mwamba has in Ethiopia presents him with new challenges and opportunities.

We are sure that he is apt to the task and we have confidence in him, especially in his new role at the African Union.

All we can do is wish Mwamba the best. Go and make Zambians proud again and harness the negligible trade between Zambia and Ethiopia!

You are simply an epitome of diplomatic service.

The Independent Observer

John Sakala is a Journalist yearning for independent journalism

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