Farirai Machivenyika in DODOMA, Tanzania

President Mnangagwa yesterday thanked Tanzania for the role it played in the liberation struggles of Zimbabwe and other countries in the Sadc region.

He was speaking at the swearing in ceremony of Tanzanian President John Magufuli following his landslide victory in last week’s presidential election.

President Magufuli, whose party Chama Cha Mapinduzi, has ruled Tanzania since attaining independence in 1961, took his oath of office before Chief Justice Ibrahim Juma at a ceremony attended by thousands of people  at Jamhuri Stadium in Tanzania’s administrative capital, Dodoma.

His deputy, Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan was also sworn in at the ceremony.

In his remarks at the ceremony, President Mnangagwa congratulated President Magufuli on his re-election.

“We in Zimbabwe regard Tanzania as the mother and father of our independence. The founding father of Tanzania, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere is regarded as a patriot in Zimbabwe.

“Once you say you come from Tanzania, we see President Nyerere,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said Tanzania played a critical role in the liberation struggles of most Sadc countries.

“Most of the countries in Southern Africa, Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe were here (during the liberation struggle).

“Tanzania is the backbone of Pan-Africanism in our region and we are doing our best to follow in the patriotic footsteps of our founding fathers,” President Mnangagwa said.

He thanked President Magufuli for leading the calls for the removal of the illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe.

“When he was chairman of Sadc (last year), he proposed that Sadc as a region should observe October 25 as a day against sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe,” he said.

The President told the gathering that the sanctions had been imposed on Zimbabwe because of its historic land reform exercise that was meant to correct colonial land ownership imbalances.

“We will never apologise for taking our land back. Tanzania supports us and Tanzania is leading Sadc in this fight that sanctions be removed.”

The President also thanked the Tanzanian leader for paying Zimbabwe a State visit last year.

“In the midst of a severe drought on my country, Tanzania offered us maize. Uganda also offered maize to Zimbabwe.

“This demonstrates the patriotic leaders in this region,” President Mnangagwa said.

In his address, President Magufuli pledged to work together with all Tanzanians regardless of their ethnic, religious and political beliefs towards making Tanzania an economically independent country. “The elections are over. Let’s now join hands in completing flagship projects and launch new ones, accelerating the fight against corruption and embezzlement of public funds, fighting poverty and creating jobs,” he said.

He also pledged to protect the country’s natural resources, including minerals, marine resources, forests, wildlife and livestock for the benefit of Tanzanians.

President Magufuli promised to continue bolstering relations with foreign countries and international organisations.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, his Comoros counterpart Azali Assoumani, representatives of other Sadc member states and AU countries among others, attended yesterday’s ceremony.

Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa returned home yesterday and was received at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, several Cabinet ministers, service chiefs and senior Government officials.