President Michael Sata says Zambia and Zimbabwe’s relations, dating back to the pre-independence era, were founded on common traditions and cultural values. He said Zambia could not celebrate its independence without the liberation of Zimbabwe.
He was speaking in Harare during Wednesday evening during a feast thrown for him by Robert Mugabe at that country’ State House.
“It is for that reason Zambia fought tirelessly to ensure that our brothers and sisters in Southern Rhodesia, and in deed the rest of the region, attained their independence.”
He paid tribute to Zimbabwe’s liberation war heroes.
“Today, we can stand here and say that their sacrifice was not in vain as Zimbabwe, Zambia and all other countries in the region enjoy a vibrant spirit of nationhood that is admirable on the continent.”
Calling President Mugabe, the “Chief of Chimurenga”, President Sata said his visit was a standing tradition fulfilled by his predecessors over the years.
“Such is a clear testimony of the strong bilateral ties that exist between our Governments and two peoples.
“I am certain that this visit will afford our two countries yet another opportunity to interact and further consolidate the excellent relations that we enjoy.”
He said the signing of the two MoUs by the two governments would further enhance social and economic relations.
“To this effect, I would like to re-affirm Zambia’s commitment to strengthening our bilateral relations through increased economic co-operation in various areas, as identified by the Joint Permanent Commission of Co-operation.”
President Sata said since the two countries are landlocked, Zambia and Zimbabwe have made strides to make them land-linked through the Chirundu One-Stop-Border Post.
He said this had improved efforts towards trade facilitation particularly on the North-South Corridor and reducing costs on the route.
He said the UNTWO General Assembly will shine the spotlight on Victoria Falls and Livingstone while showcasing the beauty and splendour of the Victoria Falls.
President Sata said co-operation within the region was imperative.
“Our collaborative effort to build a strong region characterized by deeper integration, increased intra-regional trade and the free movement of peoples, is driven by a desire to engender unity and prosperity for the region,” he said.
He hailed Zimbabwe’s strides towards economic growth as an indication of the strong foundation on which the economy is built.
“These achievements are beneficial not only to Zimbabwe but to the region as a whole as together we strive towards enhancing regional economic integration.”
President Sata reiterated the two countries’ stance for reforming the in United Nations.
“In order to keep up with the growing changes in our environment, and for the United Nations to continue to play an effective role in world affairs, it is important to ensure that this global body is not only more representative, but is also rendered more effective and efficient in delivering its various ever-growing mandates.”
And President Robert Mugabe pledged Zimbabwe’s commitment to working with its Zambian counterparts in efforts to chart a successful future for the two countries.
Describing Zimbabwe and Zambia as Siamese twins, President Mugabe hailed relations between the two countries.
“That we are inseparable can be traced back to the old times when our two people traded and shared the great Zambezi River. Then there was the ill-fated Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland which left large numbers of our people on either side of our borders.
“To this day, we have Zambians who have chosen to make Zimbabwe their home, as well as Zimbabweans who have done the same in Zambia,” he said.
President Mugabe also hailed Zambia’s contribution to Zimbabwe’s struggle for independence since it attained Statehood in 1964.
“You suffered reprisals by the Smith regime because of the support you gave us. Lives were lost in Zambia because of your solidarity with our liberation struggle. In spite of all these actions by the settler regime, Zambia relentlessly supported our struggle.
“It is this assistance from Zambia and other Frontline States which enables us through the armed struggle to end settler colonialism and bring about independence in Zimbabwe,” he said.
President Mugabe said the 20th General Assembly of the UNTWO to be co-hosted by the two countries next year should present opportunities for co-operation between the two countries.”
He hailed the signing of the MoU on co-operation to jointly construct a US$4 billion 1,650 megawatt hydro-power station at the Batoka Gorge.
“Such infrastructural projects are the enablers of real and sustainable economic development.
“As a matter of fact, this project is as important to our two countries as it is to the whole Southern Africa region which, as you know, is experiencing a critical power deficit.”
He said the inclusive Government was currently addressing a few issues in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement including the removal of sanctions, conduct of elections and conclusion of the constitution-making process.
“In that regard, I would like to express our gratitude to your country for its consistent stance against these sanctions.”
President Mugabe said Zimbabwe and Zambia shared the same sentiments on the unfamiliar challenges such as the Arab uprisings and security threats in the Sahel region which are nurtured by external interference.
“It is therefore crucial that we equip the AU with the requisite provisions to enable it to contend with phenomena that threaten to destabilise the continent. In doing so we should be guided by the principle of generating African solutions to African challenges.”
President Mugabe called for a reformed UN system that will have no room for unilateralism by Western powers which abuse their disproportionate power in such bodies.
“Zimbabwe will continue to be guided by the principles of mutual respect and unbending regard for the sovereign will of independent nations.
“The regard we give to all nations of the world is the respect we expect from the same world,” he said.