Sata snubs Mutharika, invites VP, Muluzi

Zambia President Micheal Chilufya Sata has shunned Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika at his country’s 47th independence celebrations but extended his invitation to vice president Joyce Banda and former president Bakili Muluzi.

The 47th independence celebrations for Zambia will be held on Monday October 24 in Lusaka and will be Sata’s maiden investiture ceremony as head of state after being elected a month ago.

In an invitation to Malawi former president, Sata also asked Muluzi’s son, Atupele to attend the celebrations.

“I have the honour to invite Your Excellency and your dear son (Atupele) to grace the 47th independence anniversary of Zambia,” reads the letter to Muluzi.

Sata: No Mutharika

“I will be honoured for your presence so that I can express my thanks for the support you rendered to me during difficult time,” he said.

Secretary General of Zamba’s ruling Patriotic Front, Wynter Kabimba, confirmed that the invitations were also sent to Vice President Banda.

Nyasa Times understands that there has been no invitation to President Mutharika.

Muluzi who is still dogged with back problems after his operation is not flying to Zambia.

But Vice President Banda will be in attendance at the celebrations to represent Malawi.

The relationship between Sata and Mutharika has been strained and the Zambian leader did not attend the Heads of State and Government summit in Malawi recently, accusing President Mutharika of failing to apologize for unceremoniously deporting him in 2007 as leader of Zambia`s main opposition Patriotic Front.

Sata was detained and declared a prohibited immigrant, bundled into a vehicle and driven across the country to the Malawi-Zambia border in Chipata when he flew into Malawi to hold talks with Muluzi.

Malawi government has since withdrawn the Prohibited Immigrant Status on Sata.

Analysts says Mutharika could use Muluzi’s good rapport with Sata to mend fences, saying the Zambian leader delegated former president Kenneth Kaunda  to apologise to neighbouring Angola for committing “treachery” by backing ex-rebels who fought the Luanda government during the civil war.

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