Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
President Yoweri Museveni’s visit to Zimbabwe should compel relevant ministries of the two governments to schedule an inaugural session of the joint permanent commission to explore specific areas of cooperation, President Mnangagwa has said.
Speaking at a dinner hosted in honour of the visiting Ugandan President at State House in Harare last night, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe stands ready to escalate economic cooperation guided by the two countries’ General Agreement on Economic, Technical, Scientific and Cultural Cooperation, as well as the current realities of the two countries and the continent at large.
President Mnangagwa said the visit was special as it gave both countries an opportunity to reignite the Pan African spirit engrained in the two nations.
“Since the establishment of our diplomatic relations in 1980, Zimbabwe and Uganda have enjoyed cordial relations at the political level. Your visit affords us an opportunity to share our socio-economic and political experiences, to improve the quality of life of our people,” he said.
“However, we must remain cognisant of the need to protect and defend our hard-won independence and economically empower our people, especially the youth and women.”
The President said his Government had embarked on economic and political reforms to improve the country’s economy.
“I am aware, Your Excellency, that you have been a constant advocate for Africa’s economic emancipation, industrialisation and value addition through the exploitation of the continents resource.”
President Museveni said he was pleased to be in Zimbabwe.
“Whenever I come to Southern Africa, I am pleased because I see our people who come from the Great Lakes region and spread over Southern Africa. I see you as the Diaspora of the Great Lakes.
“The only problem is, you have forgotten some of the languages. When I asked (former president) Mugabe when he came to Uganda what his name meant, he said it was just a name, but I told him it means ‘to give’,” said President drawing laughter from the guests.
He said this linguistic evidence shows the oneness of African people.
“‘Kuvona’ means to see, but now it means to find something that is missing. Therefore, when I hear people called reactionaries I feel pity for them because Africans are similar or linked. We are one. We have long standing relations with freedom fighters from Zimbabwe, Angola and South Africa. I attended the independence of Zimbabwe as a Minister,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said both countries share common views on political and security issues affecting their regions and the continent.
“At continental level, Zimbabwe supports the decision taken by African Union to ensure financial independence, self sufficiency and more responsive mechanisms to emerging security and political threats.”
President Museveni said both countries must emphasise on economic cooperation to enable self sustanance.
“The market is a stimulant for production. The more we produce, the more prosperous we become.
“Yes some of our products are similar, but we have other products which are not similar. A joint commission must sit and identify the products we can share,” he said.