Fungi Kwaramba

Political Editor

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday urged SADC countries to harness natural resources abundant in the region so as to improve the lives of their citizens through production and productivity.

Speaking at a State banquet for the visiting Malawian President Lazarus Chikwera at the State House last night, the President traced the historical ties between Zimbabwe and Malawi and stressed the need to strengthen economic ties.

“Your visit affords us an opportunity to refocus our cooperation in the areas of trade, agriculture, mining and social services. Zimbabwe is ready to host the next session of the Joint Permanent Commission to enhance our socio-economic collaboration and identify new areas of cooperation.

“It is important that we leverage on the natural resources within our countries to grow our economies and improve the quality of life of our people,” the President said.

In line with the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and in the context of the African Continental Free Trade, the President said cooperation between Zimbabwe and Malawi, two countries that share cultural and geographical ties, will lead to a more prosperous and empowered Africa.

The President said Malawi and Zimbabwe should enhance private sector business exchanges and cooperation as well as cooperation between small and medium enterprises.

“The ongoing consultations between our officials to establish a Zimbabwe-Malawi Business Forum to facilitate increased trade cooperation should be speedily concluded. It is commendable that Malawian companies always exhibit at our Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.

“I challenge more Zimbabwean companies to equally participate at different expo’s hosted in Malawi including the Takulandirani Tourism Indaba, for mutual benefit.”

The President told his Malawian counterpart  that although Zimbabwe has been suffering under the yoke of illegal economic sanctions imposed by Western nations, the country was grateful of the support rendered by fellow SADC member states in calling for their unconditional removal.

“These sanctions were a direct response by Britain and her allies to Zimbabwe’s Land Reform Programme in 1999/2000. We make no apologies for taking back our land and we are happy that the people have been reunited with their land.

“It has become very evident that these sanctions are designed to effect regime change. Hence Zimbabwe continues to endure the unrelenting attacks from external forces and their internal surrogates, with the intention of unconstitutionally, violently and illegally overthrowing our democratically elected Government. Thankfully, our people have remained vigilant, astute and patriotic.”

The President also saluted the SADC countries, that have declared October 25 the anti-sanctions day in the region, for steadfastly standing by Zimbabwe on various platforms, including the recently ended United Nations General Assembly, calling for the unconditional removal of sanctions.

After Malawi successfully held a presidential election runoff without foreign observers, the President said time might have come for African countries to conduct elections on their own without foreign observers, some of whom have an eternally prejudiced attitude.

The President briefed his counterpart about the political reforms and that the country is entrenching constitutionalism and the rule of law and also the Political Actors Dialogue platform, an inclusive and diverse platform that was established in 2018 to accommodate all political players so as to promote political dialogue.

“Those who prefer confrontation, anarchy, delinquency, civil disobedience and peddling falsehoods in a bid to unseat democratically elected Governments have no place in our country and indeed in the SADC region. On the international front, the Second Republic embarked on the Engagement and Re-Engagement Policy. As a result of the policy, the country has seen notable investments.

On his part, President Chakwera pledged economic cooperation with Zimbabwe so as to improve the welfare of the two countries.

Vice President Chiwenga, Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda, President of the Senate Mable Chinomona, service chiefs and governments officials from both Malawi and Zimbabwe attended the colourful banquet where the President presented a bouquet of flowers to Malawian First Lady Monica Chakwera on behalf of First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa.  The Malawian First Lady celebrated her birthday yesterday.