Zim, Kenya must leverage on rich shared history: President

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

Zim, Kenya must leverage on rich shared history: President 
President Mnangagwa welcomes his Kenyan counterpart President William Ruto on his arrival at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo yesterday. — Picture: Presidential Photographer Tawanda Mudimu

Fungi Kwaramba in BULAWAYO

ZIMBABWE and Kenya must leverage on their rich shared history, social, political and economic ties as well as abundant natural resources for the mutual benefit of their citizens, President Mnangagwa said here last night.

Addressing a banquet to honour Kenyan President William Ruto, who will today officially open the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe will forever be grateful to Kenya for standing resolutely with the country, particularly in the clarion and unequivocal call for the removal of illegal Western-imposed economic sanctions.

“We have a common and rich liberation war history and a shared vision for prosperity, peace and progress. As we look into the future, we must now leverage on the current social, political and economic ties as well as natural endowments for the mutual benefit of our two countries and peoples,” he said.

The President said Zimbabwe also took a leaf from Kenya, especially in infrastructure development that is now ubiquitous in the country as roads, that were in a state of disrepair, were now being resurfaced in every part of the country.

“We are on course to attain our national Vision 2030 to become an empowered upper middle-income economy. The reforms undertaken since the inception of the Second Republic have seen a conducive business environment, which has in-turn increased both local and foreign investments across all sectors,” he said.

The President noted significant progress made in the sectors of mining and agriculture which have spurred economic growth, notwithstanding illegal sanctions and climate change.

He said he got assurances from President Ruto that Kenya would stand with Zimbabwe and not tire in the call for the unconditional removal of illegal economic sanctions.

“Kenyan Airways was one of the very few airlines which continued to service the Zimbabwe route throughout the last 24 years of illegal economic sanctions.

“Kenya never left us; you were true brothers in our time of need. In this spirit of oneness, let us leverage our connectivity to promote joint marketing of our tourist destinations and products,” said the President.

He applauded Kenya for granting citizenship to the Zimbabwean community which migrated to Kenya in the early 1960s.

“Zimbabwe remains grateful for the collaboration between our two countries at the multi-lateral forum. We will continue to strongly oppose and reject the use of sanctions and other coercive measures as a foreign policy tool to undermine the sovereignty of nations.

“To this end, may I express our profound gratitude for the solidarity extended to Zimbabwe by the Government and people of Kenya and other progressive countries who continue to call for the immediate and unconditional removal of illegal sanctions”.

President Mnangagwa said Africa, under the current crop of leaders, was removing colonial shackles through promoting intra-continental travel and economic integration.

“Our two countries, the continent and Global South in general, continue to suffer immense loss and damage as a result of climate change. The agro-based nature of our economies has added onto our socio-economic vulnerabilities. Due to the climate change induced drought, Zimbabwe and other countries in SADC experienced very poor rainfall thereby negatively affecting the food security in our region.

“We are aware of the ravishing floods currently affecting Kenya and other parts of East Africa. Let us, therefore, continue to think outside the box as we scale up both bi-lateral and multi-lateral strategies to mitigate natural hazards such as endemic diseases, droughts, floods, agricultural pests and cyclones,” said the President.

He invited Kenyan businesses to come and invest in Zimbabwe, taking advantage of the conducive environment created by the Second Republic.

In his remarks, Kenyan President Ruto said his country would always stand with Zimbabwe and backed President Mnangagwa’s call for increased trade among African states.

The banquet was hosted by First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa and attended by Government ministers from the two sister Republics.

Today, the two Presidents will oversee the signing of MoUs among their ministers before the official opening of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.

Earlier in the afternoon, the Kenyan leader had arrived at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport where he was received by President Mnangagwa.

The President was accompanied by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, Vice President Kembo Mohadi, various Cabinet Ministers, service chiefs, members of the diplomatic corps, ZITF company board chairperson Busisa Moyo, officials from the ruling Zanu-PF party, and jubilant Zimbabweans.

Following the formalities, where President Ruto reviewed the guard of honour and was honoured with a 21-gun salute, both Presidents took the opportunity to mingle with the enthusiastic crowd.

Thereafter, President Mnangagwa addressed the huge crowd, and expressed gratitude for their patience and warm reception of President Ruto, who he fondly described as his “younger brother”.

“I know you have been here for too long, I want to thank you for your patience.  Zimbabweans and Kenyans are one people, this is why we have Zimbabweans living in Kenya,” said President Mnangagwa.

He said President Ruto was not going to be making any speeches at the airport ‘because he is tired, lizamuzwa kusasa (you will hear him tomorrow) etrade fair.”

In an official statement, Kenyan State House Spokesperson Mr Hussein Mohamed said President Ruto’s two-day State visit is strategically focused on strengthening the political, economic, and socio-cultural relationships between Kenya and Zimbabwe.

“He will emphasise the significance of international trade fairs and forums as catalysts for economic development, industrial growth, global linkages and job creation. The visit elevates the existing strong bilateral relations between the two countries by upgrading the current Joint Permanent Commission for Co-operation at the Ministerial level to a Bi-National Commission at the Heads of State level,” said Mr Mohamed.

He said seven bilateral co-operation instruments in health, defence, investment, education, transport and capacity building in public service will be signed between the two countries.

“In talks with President Mnangagwa, President Ruto will express the need for closer air connectivity between the two countries in the spirit of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the Tripartite Alliance Free Trade Area,” said Mr Mohamed.

He said President Ruto will also share Kenya’s perspective on climate action and the urgent need for UN Security Council reforms that respond to the current global realities.

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