ZIMBABWEAN President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday charmed Zambians at State House by expressing gratitude in Nyanja, Bemba and Tonga.
Gracing Zambia’s 54th Independence Day activities at State House, President Mnangagwa, who lived in Zambia for a long time before his country got independent, as he concluded his address said: “Zikomo kwambiri, twatotela sana, twalumba bakwesu” to much applause.
“I will wish you [people of Zambia] peace, I wish you love, I wish you unity, I wish you prosperity as we continue to walk together side-by-side, hand-in-hand, towards a bright future for our people. God bless you all, God bless the Republic of Zambia,” he said.
President Mnangagwa invited Zambian businesspersons to “come and partner their counterparts in Zimbabwe.”
In the presence of Dr Kenneth Kaunda, his host Edgar Lungu and members of the diplomatic corps, President Mnangagwa felt “greatly honoured to have been invited to be guest of honour”.
“Let me express my profound gratitude for the warm reception and generous hospitality that me and my delegation have experienced since our arrival which is indeed in keeping with a long held view that Zambia and Zimbabwe are Siamese twins with Zambezi giving lifeblood to both,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said the strong relations between Zimbabwe and Zambia predate colonialism.
“The trials and tribulations of our shared history could not break the bonds that were built and cemented over centuries of shared culture, beliefs and aspirations,” he said. “Let us therefore build on this strong foundation and chart our countries’ individual and collective future guided by mutually beneficial interests.”
President Mnangagwa said Zambia’s independence and the breakup of the Central African Federation, 50 years ago, on the 24th October 1964, marked the turning point in the struggle for freedom and independence in the region.
“As liberation movements, we will forever be grateful for the numerous sacrifices made by the people of Zambia towards our independence,” President Mnangagwa said. “What is admirable is that throughout that period, the people of Zambia remained steadfast in the face of immense pressure, military and economic sabotage from the racist governments in Rhodesia and South Africa. As we carry the vision and hope towards a shared future of unity, development and prosperity, I urge present and future generations to draw inspiration from the love, brotherhood and Pan-African spirit of yesteryear to develop and improve the quality of life of our people throughout the continent.”
President Mnangagwa called for scaling up of trade, investment, defence, security, education, scientific and cultural cooperation.
He said to attain the desired middle-income economy status, and a fully industrialised and modernised, the two countries must develop reliable, adequate and appropriate energy, transport and ICT infrastructure.
“We shall to this end be implementing joint projects in hydro power generation, road and rail rehabilitation and construction of others,” said President Mnangagwa. “To improve connectivity and enhance regional and continental integration, our two land-linked countries must modernise the one-stop border post at Chirundu as well as at Victoria Falls port of entry in keeping with the traffic and trade flow between our two countries. As sister countries we can achieve much more when we work together. I challenge both the public and private sectors of our two countries to partner the on-going initiatives by our two governments.”