At a time when the nation is struggling under food shortages, Emmerson Mnangagwa has taken his scarf to Zambia.
Mnangagwa arrived in Zambia yesterday for a series of engagements which include the 54th independence anniversary of Zambia and a host of bilateral economic cooperation discussions, the state media reports.
The report continues stating: Zambia attained its independence from Britain on October 24, 1964 and in turn offered support to Zimbabwe’s quest for freedom.
The two countries enjoy close ties and are implementing several joint projects together.
President Mnangagwa is accompanied by Industry and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu and Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, who is also the Presidential Press Secretary Mr George Charamba.
Mnangagwa was welcomed at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport by his Zambian counterpart Edgar Lungu, Ministers Joram Gumbo (Energy and Power Development Minister), Joel Biggie Matiza (Transport and Infrastructural Development), Sithembiso Nyoni (Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development) and Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Zambia Gertrude Takawira.
The Ministers travelled ahead of the President to attend the 17th session of the Joint Permanent Commission of the two countries.
Mnangagwa inspected a guard of honour mounted by the Zambian military on arrival.
He was honoured with a 21-gun salute conferred to a visiting Head of State and Government.
Before leaving Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, Mnangagwa mingled with Zimbabweans resident in Zambia who jostled to have a handshake with him.
Mnangagwa later paid a courtesy call on Zambia’s founding President Dr Kenneth Kaunda.
He spent over 40 minutes at Dr Kaunda’s residence, which is in the New Kasama area, recounting his liberation war days.
Mnangagwa was expected to attend the hoisting of the Flag ceremony by President Lungu, which is part of the independence celebrations.
The flag hoisting ceremony is done on the eve of independence anniversary and is symbolic of what Zambia experienced when they attained independence in 1964.
Today Mnangagwa will lay wreaths at the Freedom Statue before departing for State House for the main independence reception.
In an interview, his spokesman, George Charamba said the two countries were like Siamese twins.
“We have several joint projects along the Zambezi River but also projects which date back to history during the time of the Federation. In the present and in the future, there are quite a number of projects that we plan to do jointly. Most notably, the Batoka Gorge Power project of which a joint tender was issued and a decision taken. It will produce 2 400 megawatts that will be divided between the two countries,” said Mr Charamba.
“But presently we import things from each other. In the case of Zimbabwe, we were used to getting grain from them but not anymore because we are now self-sufficient. But we continue to meet our power deficits from neighbouring countries including Zambia.
“These are Siamese countries not just geographically but also in terms of the history of the liberation struggle as well as in terms of the current relations.”
Mr Charamba said the Joint Commission was being convened at very short notice to show that there was that appetite to deepen collaboration on both sides.