Nduduzo Tshuma, Political Editor
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa leaves for Uganda today for that country’s 57th Independence Day celebrations to be held in Sironko District, about 211 kilometres from the capital, Kampala, tomorrow.
The President was invited by his Ugandan counterpart President Yoweri Museveni to attend the celebrations as a special guest.
The celebrations are held under the theme: “Consolidation of National Unity, Security, Freedom and Prosperity.”
Uganda gained its independence from Britain on October 9, 1962.
Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Mr George Charamba, who is also the Presidential spokesperson, confirmed the invitation.
“The President was invited to Uganda as a special guest to the country on their National Day,” said Mr Charamba.
Last Tuesday, the Ugandan Minister of Presidency Esther Mbayo said Presidents Museveni and Mnangagwa will also use the time to discuss areas of cooperation between the two countries.
“President of Uganda, General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni will be the chief guest and he has invited another special guest, His Excellency Emmerson Mnangagwa, the President of Zimbabwe to grace the occasion,” she said.
President Museveni visited Zimbabwe in April this year to officially open the 60th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo.
In his address, President Museveni said Ugandans and Zimbabweans are one people, saluting the latter for remaining in charge of their country 39 years after attaining independence, despite economic setbacks.
He exhibited deep knowledge of the country’s history and revealed how he worked with Zanu-PF and former ZAPU cadres, alongside other revolutionary movements in the Southern African region to intensify liberation war efforts against colonialism.
He paid tribute to President Mnangagwa for inviting him to officiate at ZITF, saying this year’s prime trade showcase was a special anniversary for his earlier visit in 1989 when he was also guest of honour at the same event.
“I was here in 1989, exactly 30 years ago, so it’s an anniversary for being here,” said President Museveni.
“I am not a stranger to Zimbabwe, I have worked with Zanu-PF and other liberation movements in Dar es Salaam, Frelimo, ANC, MPLA, PAC, ZAPU in the 1960s and indeed in 1968 with the group of students some of whom were coming from Zimbabwe.
“I want to salute the people of Zimbabwe for their struggle. The struggle here was not easy.”
President Museveni also took a swipe against the West for imposing illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe which he blamed for frustrating the country’s economic recovery efforts.
“On behalf of Uganda, I want to condemn the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe for such a long time. This idea of sanctions is cowardice,” said President Museveni.
“Why do you put sanctions if somebody is wrong? Leave him! He will be failed by the mistakes. Why do you have to put sanctions if you know you are right and somebody is wrong? That means you are not sure that one is wrong?
“Otherwise if you are sure that this one is wrong, why don’t you let him say by his own mistakes.”