Kuda Bwititi Chief Reporter
President Mnangagwa leaves Harare this morning for Gaborone, Botswana, on a State visit expected to enhance bilateral and economic ties between the two countries. The President will join about a dozen of his Cabinet ministers who were part of an advance party that arrived in Botswana yesterday.
Relations between the two countries were frosty in the last decade after the much publicised fallout between former President Robert Mugabe and Botswana’s President Seretse Khama Ian Khama, who threw brickbats at each other on a number of occasions.
Since President Mugabe resigned from office in November last year, President Khama has shown eagerness to engage with Zimbabwe from a fresh plinth as he was among Sadc leaders who attended President Mnangagwa’s inauguration.
That this will be President Mnangagwa’s first official State visit since he was sworn into office in November last year speaks volumes about President Khama’s keenness to restore sound relations between the two countries. State visits are initiated by the host and considered the highest level of diplomatic engagement between nations.
Speaking to The Herald from Gaborone yesterday, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Lieutenant General Sibusisio Moyo (Retired) said President Mnangagwa is expected in Gaborone today.
“We are expecting the Head of State to come in for the State Visit. He is also going to address a business Conference with Zimbabweans living here as well as Botswana businesspeople that have interests or might have future interests in our country.”
Minister Moyo said the historic mission to Botswana will catapult relations between the two countries to new heights by restoring the Joint Commission forum for the two neighbours.
“It is what I would call a resuscitation of the Joint Commission between Zimbabwe and Botswana. The last Joint Commission was about seven or so years ago. “The main objective is to reinvigorate the relations particularly the economic cooperation between the two nations.
“This visit will simultaneously enhance the level of cooperation to Bi National Commission so that the Heads of States can be able to focus on economic cooperation.”
Minister Moyo said another delegation of officials from Zimbabwe had been in Botswana since last week, laying the groundwork for the signing of bilateral agreements.