‘Sadc bond unbreakable’

MEMBER States of the Southern African Development Community are united by unbreakable bonds which are historical, cultural and familial, ties that can never be torn asunder by wanton characters, President Mnangagwa has said.

Yesterday, SADC Ambassadors and representatives accredited to Zimbabwe encompassing Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Zambia paid a courtesy call on President Mnangagwa at State House in Harare to congratulate him on his August harmonised elections victory.

In his remarks, President Mnangagwa described all SADC member states as “one people”, united for the common purpose of ensuring peace, stability, socio-economic development and prosperity.

The President said Zimbabwe appreciates the continued show of solidarity as well as the unwavering support rendered by the regional bloc.

“Dating back to the days of our liberation struggle, and indeed since time immemorial, we are collectively united by unbreakable bonds cemented by historical, cultural and family ties. We are one people.

“This unity, love and common purpose, among our countries, must be nurtured and defended for shared peace and stability as well as the socio-economic development and prosperity of our peoples,” he said.

“On behalf of the Government and people of Zimbabwe, I am pleased to receive you all, in this show of solidarity with us, as brothers and sisters.

“We value the friendship and unwavering support SADC continues to demonstrate towards Zimbabwe.”

President Mnangagwa said it was heartening to note that SADC endorsed the credibility of Zimbabwe’s August polls as “free, fair, credible and peaceful”.

In the same vein, he said, Zimbabweans continue demonstrating political maturity as evidenced by the peaceful environment that characterised the polls.

“May I thank you, Your Excellency, Ambassador Agostinho da Silva and your esteemed colleagues, for initiating this courtesy call on me, to congratulate the people of Zimbabwe for holding free, fair, credible and peaceful 2023 Harmonised General Elections.

“Now that the elections are behind us, the people of Zimbabwe continue to maintain peace and exhibit political maturity.

“The conduct of political contestations under the Second Republic is a clear demonstration of our resilience, unity and peaceful nature,” he said.

Zimbabwe, said the President, was committed to upholding the rule of law, as well as laid down statutes in the SADC Treaty.

“Democracy and the rule of law are two of the core principles enshrined in Articles 4 (c) and Article 5 of the SADC Treaty.

“As a founding member of our august regional bloc, Zimbabwe takes pride in entrenching unity, peace and development as well as deepening constitutionalism, good governance, democracy and the rule of law,” he said.

President Mnangagwa expressed gratitude for the solidarity shown by the bloc through the continued call for the unequivocal removal of Western imposed sanctions.

He however, said Zimbabwe continues to show itself as a dominant force and true sanctions buster.

“Despite socio-economic adversities brought about by the illegal sanctions, we remain focused, steadfast and determined to grow every sector of our economy, guided by our national development philosophy, ‘Nyika inovakwa, inotongwa, inonamatirwa nevene vayo’ (A country is built, governed and prayed for by its own people).”

“Allow me to once again thank, most heartily, your respective jurisdictions for the continued calls for the unconditional lifting of the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

“These have been echoed consistently by the various leaders within our region, not only during the SADC Anti-Sanctions Day as recognised annually on October, 25” said President Mnangagwa.

The President also commended the diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe for relaying the true Zimbabwean story of “peace, tranquillity and unprecedented development”, much to the chagrin of Western oppressors.

“Since the advent of the Second Republic, you as ambassadors, have walked the journey with us and experienced the peace, tranquillity and unprecedented development which we are experiencing as a nation.

“Being the eyes and ears of your capitals, you have honestly testified to this indisputable fact. We thank you,” he said.

As the incoming Chair of SADC, President Mnangagwa charged the region to continue standing as a united front, pursuant to the ultimate goal of accelerating regional integration for sustained development.

The Head of State and Government said it is equally important for SADC Ambassadors to champion economic diplomacy towards the full realisation of the bloc’s economic potential.

“Your visit today shows our determination as SADC to continue standing as a solid bloc, guided by the adage, ‘united we stand, divided we fall’. Let us remain firm on our principles of solidarity as we accelerate regional integration for sustainable development for a common future.

“I call upon you, Ambassadors from SADC, to focus on economic diplomacy towards harnessing the economic potential of our region. Drawing from our respective comparative and competitive advantages, more must be done to deepen cooperation between and among our countries.

“This must be in the context of our regional industrialisation and integration agenda as well as the African Continental Free Trade Area,” he said.

Equally important, said President Mnangagwa, is the realisation of all-round food self-sufficiency, increased industrialisation and adoption of technology to make the region a fortified powerhouse.

“Avenues should be pursued to increase our region’s capacity to realise food security and sovereignty. Riding on our rich natural resources, industrialisation must be accelerated, infrastructure connectivity enhanced and our tourism products jointly marketed.

“Through the effective use of ICTs and our youthful population, innovation must see us produce more goods and services for use by our people.

“These and other critical areas should be our key focus. We must believe in ourselves,” he said.

President Mnangagwa congratulated the Kingdom of Eswatini for conducting peaceful polls, while also wishing the DRC and Madagascar peace and tranquillity as they will be holding elections in their respective countries soon.

“Let me also take this opportunity, Your Excellencies, to congratulate the Kingdom of Eswatini for conducting peaceful elections earlier this year.

“As you are aware, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar will soon be heading for elections. I wish the two countries peaceful and successful electoral processes,” said the Head of State and Government.

President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe continued to look forward to the deepening of relations between SADC states, championed by their diplomats.

“I urge you as ambassadors to promote relations between your capitals and Zimbabwe to uplift more of our people out of poverty and into prosperity.

“May I once again thank you most sincerely for the gesture of solidarity and support afforded by the courtesy call. I look forward to the continued deepening of our cooperation,” he said.

In an interview after the meeting, Angolan Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Agostinho Tavares da Silva Neto, said they came as SADC Ambassadors to reassure President Mnangagwa that Zimbabwe is not alone.

He said SADC continues to commend Zimbabwe for conducting elections in a “very peaceful” manner.

“First of all we thank the President for receiving us today despite his busy schedule.

“We came today as all the SADC countries accredited to Zimbabwe to congratulate the President for the very peaceful, fair, free and transparent elections.

“We came here to reiterate our support to the people and Government of Zimbabwe, we are one people as SADC,” he said.

Amb Neto, whose country is current SADC chair, said countries in the bloc were looking to tap into Zimbabwe’s successes especially when it comes to the achievement of food security.

“We learnt a lot from what the President told us about food security so we decided to have lessons from the President and to share with our countries how Zimbabwe has survived after a very long period of illegal sanctions.

“The people of Zimbabwe have demonstrated resilience and we have learnt a lot from Zimbabwe,” he said.

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