Tendai Mugabe in LUSAKA, Zambia
Zimbabwe and Zambia yesterday signed four Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) as the two sister republics moved to elevate and deepen their historical and economic relations.
President Mnangagwa and his Zambian counterpart President Edgar Chagwa Lungu oversaw the signing ceremony at the Zambian State House.
The signing ceremony followed a two-day meeting of the 17th Session of the Zimbabwe-Zambia Joint Permanent Commission that ended here yesterday.
The first MoU was on the establishment of a one-stop border post at the Victoria Falls/Livingstone border.
Industry and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu signed the MoU on behalf of Zimbabwe, while Zambian Minister of Commerce and Industry Christopher Yaluma signed on behalf of his country.
The second MoU was on the cooperation of management and preservation of Zimbabwe’s liberation war grave sites.
Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Cain Mathema, who is also the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, signed on behalf of Zimbabwe while Zambia was represented by its Tourism Minister Charles Banda.
The MoU seeks to promote and appreciate the history and values, ideals and goals of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle and construction and reconstruction of site museums and monuments at the grave sites.
The two ministers also signed a third MoU on cultural exchange cooperation under which the two countries seek to enhance cooperation in the field of culture and arts.
Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni and her Zambian counterpart Elizabeth Phiri, who is the Gender Minister, signed the fourth MoU on gender equity and equality and women empowerment through sharing experiences.
Before the signing ceremony, Zambian Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Malanji briefed the two Heads of State and Government on the deliberations and outcomes of the Joint Permanent Commission.
In his brief remarks, Minister Malanji said: “The Joint Permanent Commission agreed on new areas of cooperation on industrialisation, investment promotion, works and supply and child development. The challenges faced at Chirundu one-stop border post, it was agreed to link and harmonise ICT systems procedures in the two countries in order to ensure full operation of the one-stop border post. Coming to progress, we have registered progress in the joint projects such as the Batoka Power Project and Kariba North and South Power projects. The Joint Permanent Commission called on the need to expedite the formalities on the twinning between Lusaka and the Mashonaland Central province as well as southern and Mashonaland West provinces in order to enhance the relations between the two sides.”
Minister Malanji said Zambia was also excited by the donation of two male rhinos by Zimbabwe.
Said Minister Malanji: “The two sides reaffirmed to continue cooperation at regional and international fora, especially under the framework of the Troika of the Sadc Organ, Defence, Politics and Security Cooperation where Zambia is the chair and Zimbabwe is the incoming chair. We agreed to hold the 18th session of the Joint Permanent Commission in Zimbabwe.”
He said it was their wish as the Joint Permanent Commission to upgrade relations between the two countries to Bi-National Commission level.
Other ministers from Zimbabwe who attended the 17th session of Joint Permanent Commission were Energy and Power Development Minister Jorum Gumbo, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza.