Nduduzo Tshuma in Sironko, Uganda
ZIMBABWE has survived the illegal sanctions imposed on the country for 20 years through the political and material support it has received from fellow African countries including Uganda, President Mnangagwa said yesterday.
Speaking at the 57th anniversary of Uganda’s independence here where he was special guest to the country, President Mnangagwa reiterated his government’s desire to deepen relations with nations on the continent.
“Zimbabwe is a country in transition, we are under sanctions for 20 years, however, because of solidarity and support, political and material from our sister countries like the Republic of Uganda, we still survive,” he said.
This places emphasis on his calls at the Ugandan State House the previous day for countries in the continent to share their respective knowledge and resources for the improvement of the lives of their people.
President Mnangagwa paid tribute to President Museveni for the invite extended to him to the celebrations as special guest.
“I’m here today on behalf of the people of the Republic of Zimbabwe. I’m here at the invitation of my elder brother and President, President Museveni. May I congratulate you on your 57th anniversary of Independence and freedom. Today Uganda is 57 years old in terms of Independence and freedom, Zimbabwe is 39 years old in terms of independence and freedom therefore, Uganda is an elder sister to us,” said President Mnangagwa.
“I’m happy to be here to learn, consolidate and deepen our relations between the Republic of Uganda and the Republic of Zimbabwe. Your Independence inspired us in Southern Africa, we were inspired that it was possible to remove colonial power from our countries when you became independent.”
President Mnangagwa hailed Ugandans for unity towards the development of their country.
“I will convey the warmth my delegation has received from the patriotic people of this beautiful country,” said the President.
In his address, President Museveni said his country was equally committed to cooperate with Zimbabwe.
“I would like to welcome our brother, His Excellency President Mnangagwa for agreeing to come and join us in this occasion of our celebration. When you have a feast and a relative comes to join you, that act consolidates the brotherhood and sisterhood,” he said.
“His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa was here last in 1963 when he was being smuggled out to go to China for military training. Recently he invited me to be a guest of honour at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair…I want to thank President Mnangagwa for agreeing to come and check his relatives in the Great Lakes and on this occasion, Uganda’s 57th Independence anniversary.”
On the continued bullying of African states by powerful Western nations, President Museveni said political and economic cooperation at regional and continental level would bring prosperity to Africa.
“Uganda cannot develop alone, it needs Africa, the Common Market for East and Southern Africa and now the Continental Free Trade Area, you cannot sustain production if one cannot buy what you are producing or if the market is taking small quantities of what you are producing. Therefore, the CFTA is a matter of life and death for Africa,” he said.
President Museveni said the CFTA will not only absorb products of African industries but will also empower the continent to negotiate with countries from other continents at an almost equal level.
“Because a big man cannot negotiate with a small man, we see European countries busy imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe. And they have been suffering for 20 years. When USA places China on sanctions, China places the USA on sanctions also but in another situation where someone strikes you and you cannot strike him back, that’s a disaster,” said President Museveni.
“That is what has been happening, Zimbabwe has been hit with sanctions for 20 years…that’s why we say CFTA is for our salvation. Economic integration under the CFTA is for the prosperity of our people in Africa.”
Meanwhile, President Museveni conveyed his message of condolences to President Mnangagwa following the death of former President Cde Robert Mugabe on September 6 this year.
He said Cde Mugabe made a historic contribution to the liberation of Zimbabwe before asking attendants to observe a moment of silence in his honour.
The celebrations were attended by diplomats from neighbouring countries including Kenya, Rwanda, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo and China among other countries.