Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
ZIMBABWE has pledged to support the people of Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic in the fight against its imperial occupier, Morocco, a senior Government official has said. Briefing journalists after a meeting with the outgoing Saharawi ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mohamed Cheij Saleh, at his Munhumutapa Offices in Harare on Friday, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Christopher Mushohwe said Zimbabwe had always been behind the people of Saharawi since independence.
He rallied other African countries, particularly Francophone nations, to support Saharawi in its cause against Morocco. “Zimbabwe took a position immediately after independence in 1980 to support the Saharawi people’s cause and support the liberation force of the people of Saharawi.
“Even as we were a liberation movement, we always supported their cause; we have been with them in the trenches and sharing tactical issues of the liberation.
“Zimbabwe is one of those countries that recognised the independence of Saharawi people and has continued to champion and mobilise support through the African Union, SADC and the United Nations,” he said.
Dr Mushohwe emphasised efforts made by President Mugabe in championing the cause of Saharawi which led to the expulsion of Morocco from the AU.
“I want to assure Saharawi that Zimbabwe will always be there for them. President Mugabe has been championing the cause of our friends.
“He is solidly behind their cause. We want to assure the ambassador that Zimbabwe is an all-weather friend of your people.
“We will always fight alongside your cause in whatever form we are able to render,” he said.
“We hope the UN Security Council will exert pressure on Morocco and respect the resolution that have passed on the issue of independence for Saharawi people.
“AU expelled Morocco and it is time that the UN must begin to think along those lines.
“Why not expel Morocco from the UN so that the UN demonstrates that it is not just sponsoring resolutions which are meaningless?” he said.
“Morocco should not be allowed to continue to be an imperial force of Saharawi.
“They are neighbours and are supposed to be treated as neighbours. There should be co-existence between Morocco and Saharawi,” Dr Mushohwe said.
He expressed appreciation to Algeria and India for their hospitality to the people of Saharawi and their cause.
Dr Mushohwe said it was disturbing that countries such as France and Germany were supporting the occupation by Morocco and that France, which had pulled out of Saharawi, was now returning.
Ambassador Saleh also sought assistance from Zimbabwe in the area of broadcasting.
Dr Mushohwe said Zimbabwe was willing to assist the country set up a broadcasting station as this would help Saharawi tell its story to the world.
Ambassador Saleh said he went to Dr Mushohwe to bid him farewell after spending five years on duty in Zimbabwe.
“We appreciate the support we get from Zimbabwe. During my stay in Zimbabwe for the past five years I feel more than a family.
“When I went outside I met friendly and kind people. I appreciate the high education and very significant customs.
“Zimbabwe co-operates with Saharawi and supports our cause,” he said.
“I salute the role played by President Mugabe during his chairmanship of the AU.
“His efforts to push the UN to be real participants in this ongoing peaceful effort to organize a free, fair and just referendum for the Saharawi people,” he said.