Let’s chart our own development paths: President

11 Feb, 2024 - 00:02 0 Views
Let’s chart our own development paths: President President Mnangagwa and his Botswana counterpart President Mokgweetsi Masisi share notes at the Zimbabwe-Botswana Bi-National Commission Summit at Maun Lodge, Maun Resort Town in Botswana (Picture by Presidential Photographer Tawanda Mudimu)

The Sunday News

Lincoln Towindo in MAUN, Botswana

AFRICAN countries must reject external interference in their internal affairs and strive to take control of their own destinies and development trajectories to guarantee sustainable prosperity and stability, President Mnangagwa has said.

Addressing the opening of the Fourth Session of the Zimbabwe-Botswana Bi-National Commission (BNC) Summit here on Friday at Maun Lodge, President Mnangagwa emphasised the importance of African unity and self-determination, arguing that foreign intervention often hinders progress and undermines the sovereignty of African nations.

He said the forthcoming general elections in Botswana, scheduled for later this year, present an opportunity for the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) region to further entrench its democratic credentials. 

“Finally, Your Excellency, we are aware that Botswana will be going to elections later this year. Zimbabwe is confident that your electoral processes will go a long way towards consolidating constitutionalism and democracy in our region. We must, as independent and sovereign African people, have faith in ourselves and our right to determine our own destiny and development path. Undue interference in our internal affairs must never be condoned.”

In recent years, some Western countries have sought to exert undue influence in the domestic affairs of African countries, particularly around election time, in an effort to impose their preferred leaders. President Mnangagwa’s call for self-determination aligns with the stance of broader movements across the continent advocating greater African agency and control over resources and development strategies. He said Botswana was Zimbabwe’s key partner on multilateral platforms. 

“In the regional, continental and international context, I commend you, Your Excellency and the Government of Botswana for your commitment and contribution to the promotion of peace and stability in our region, specifically in northern Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique. Zimbabwe will be honoured to have you and other colleagues in Harare later this year, during the 44th Ordinary Summit of the Sadc Heads of State and Government.”

Zimbabwe is set to take over the chairmanship of the regional body during its annual high-level meeting set to be hosted by the country later this year.

“Further, your personal commitment to strengthening relations between our two countries has been invaluable. Similarly, the regular exchange of high-level visits and open lines of communication have equally played an important role in broadening the scope of our co-operation.”

Last year, President Mnangagwa visited Botswana twice to participate in the 15th US-Africa Business Summit in July, before attending the fifth edition of the Kusi Ideas Festival in December. Prior to those two visits, President Masisi was in Zimbabwe in February 2022 on a working visit to Victoria Falls for the Third Session of the BNC.

Later in September of the same year, he embarked on a State visit to Zimbabwe.

Added President Mnangagwa: “After all, our shared historical ties make Zimbabweans and Batswana one people. These ties were cemented when our brothers and sisters from Botswana provided sanctuary and safe passage to liberation fighters in the Southern African region during the liberation war. It is this strategic role played by Botswana that saw us in Zimbabwe recognise Botswana and the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), in particular, as a former liberation movement. We, thus, look forward to the attendance of the BDP at our next meeting of the former liberation movements, which will soon be hosted by Zanu-PF.”

Addressing the same meeting, Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the recognition of his country’s role in fighting for the liberation of the continent was long overdue.

“Botswana is proud to have contributed immensely to the liberation struggle in Africa and the Southern Africa region in particular, Zimbabwe included. And, yes, I will remind you in case others didn’t get it clearly: Botswana, through its Democratic Party that leads it, led the liberation struggle in a unique manner, for the BDP was a liberation movement that did not bear arms. We will remain as you have always known us . . . we continue to liberate. After we achieved our political liberation, we will get to our economic liberation and now we will get to our intellectual liberation, Your Excellency.”

In 2022, Zimbabwe offered Botswana land at the Museum of African Liberation, currently under development in Harare, to tell the neighbouring country’s liberation struggle story through exhibition of historic artefacts.

“We are happy that in the context of the African Liberation Museum being established in Harare, we have been granted a piece of land for the purpose of donating storied artefacts for the purpose of exhibition and the erection of a monument honouring Botswana’s role in the liberation struggle. We are committed and dedicated to make our stand uniquely stand out for the unique role that we played. Let me assure you that consultations are ongoing to ensure that we utilise this generous offer from Zimbabwe. This will go a long way in further cementing our already warm relations.”

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