Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
SANCTIONS imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States of America and its allies are undermining the new dispensation’s efforts of international community re-engagement, a Cabinet Minister said yesterday.
Officially opening the 32nd Session of the Zimbabwe-Zambia Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security in Victoria Falls, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Cain Mathema said world security, Zimbabwe included, is under threat from US dominance.
“We’re meeting at a time when global security is under threat from dominant tendencies by the United States which is seeking to impose its will on the global order by imposing economic sanctions on other countries.
“Zimbabwe has been a victim of such sanctions imposed by America under the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera) and these sanctions continue to undermine the New Dispensation’s foreign policy thrust of engagement and re-engagement as well as international dialogue,” said Minister Mathema.
He said common threats to Africa besides USA supremacy, include transnational crimes such as poaching, illegal migration, smuggling of minerals and climate change.
“I encourage officials to come up with strategies that will strengthen our co-operation in the fight against retrogressive forces in our country as well as transnational organised crime such as smuggling of precious minerals, poaching and human trafficking that threaten peace and security in the two republics,” said Minister Mathema.
Minister Mathema, who co-chaired the meeting with Zambia Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo called for unity among African states to uphold democratic principles.
He commended African states for holding peaceful, free and fair elections in their respective countries.
“As we meet this year we’re proud to note that Sadc countries continue to promote democracy through the holding of free and fair elections as recently witnessed in Madagascar and DRC.
“We remain hopeful that the upcoming elections in South Africa, Malawi, Botswana and Namibia will be peaceful, free, fair and credible in line with Sadc principles and guidelines governing the conduct of democratic elections,” added Minister Mathema.
He said meetings such as the Joint Permanent Commission are important platforms for bi-lateral relations.
Minister Mathema said Zimbabwe and Zambia enjoy cordial relations dating back to the liberation struggle.
He paid tribute to the sacrifice, love, warmth, support and solidarity of the Zambian people which has continued even in the new political dispensation led by President Mnangagwa.
Minister Mathema said Zimbabwe will always be indebted to support rendered to it by other countries.
Minister Kampyongo echoed the same sentiments and commended Sadc countries for their commitment to democracy.
He said despite efforts by Zimbabwe and Zambia to fight off security threats, the two countries continue to face common cross border threats such as illegal migration, poaching and smuggling which threaten their peace and stability.
“I’m encouraged by the level of co-operation that our defence and security institutions have continued to enjoy as we endeavour to achieve aspirations of our people. It’s for this reason that I wish to encourage delegates to take advantage of our platform to strengthen bilateral relations. Members of this commission will rise to the challenges so that perpetrators are brought to book to combat these threats,” he said.
Minister Kampyongo said the region can achieve security goals by continuously revising its approach and remaining vigilant to the ever growing threats.
He said Zimbabwe has a brighter future in the hands of President Mnangagwa who he said showed patriotism during and after the July 2018 harmonised elections.
Minister Kampyongo said Zambia, which is the outgoing chair of the Sadc Organ on Politics Defence and Security Troika is making frantic efforts to join other disaster response stakeholders in helping victims of the disaster in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique.
The official opening ceremony started with a moment of silence in honour of victims of Cyclone Idai.
Present at the meeting were Defence and War Veterans Deputy Minister Victor Matemadanda, Permanent Secretary in the same Ministry Mr Martin Rushwaya, Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs in Zambia Dr Chileshe Mulenga and Zambia’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Emmanuel Chenda.
There were also service chiefs and senior security officials from the two countries.
The five-day meeting ended yesterday.-[email protected]