President Mnangagwa yesterday charmed Zambians during that country’s 54th Independence Day anniversary held at the Zambian State House in Lusaka.
The Head of State and Government —who is also the Commander-in-chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces — was the guest speaker at the event which was also attended by Zambia’s founding President Dr Kenneth Kaunda and several diplomats accredited to Lusaka.
Tribute songs by Zimbabwean artistes like Oliver Mtukudzi were played by Zambian musical groups during the celebrations to honour President Mnangagwa.
There were wild cheers when President Mnangagwa highlighted in his presentation that Zimbabwe and Zambia were Siamese twins and that liberation movements would forever cherish the unfettered support they received from Zambia during the liberation struggle.
The Independence Day celebrations started early in the morning, with the laying of wreaths at the Freedom Statue.
The Freedom Statue is dedicated to freedom fighters and those who lost their lives in the struggle for Zambia’s independence.
As the special guest invited to officiate at the Independence Day celebrations, President Mnangagwa led the delegates in laying the wreaths.
After the laying of wreaths, President Mnangagwa and his host President Edgar Lungu greeted diplomats before proceeding to State House for the main reception.
On his way to State House, Zambians from all walks of life lined the streets waving to President Mnangagwa’s motorcade.
President Mnangagwa was treated to scintillating Zambian music from various groups including the Lusaka Select, Freedom Fighters and the Zambia Military Orchestra.
President Lungu could not hide his love for music and exhibited his skills on the dance floor.
After his address, President Mnangagwa jointly cut the independence cake with his host.
The cake was shaped like the Zambian map and was decorated in the country’s national colours.
In his address, President Mnangagwa said: “The invitation you extended to me to officiate at this grand national event is testimony to the strong bond that exists between our two countries and peoples.
“Since the attainment of independence in Zimbabwe on 18 April 1980, our two countries have enjoyed excellent bilateral relations.
“We continue to interact at the highest political levels and stand committed to strengthen these relations and construct a better future as we steer our two countries towards the attainment of our common vision to become middle income economies by 2030.
“Our countries in the Sadc region share a common destiny and we are one people, guided by similar principles and united by a common vision, underpinned by the spirit of Ubuntu.
‘’Your Excellency, I wish to congratulate you, once again, on Zambia’s assumption of the chair of Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security. It is an onerous position to ensure peace and stability in the region, which are essential requirements for economic growth and development.
“We note that a number of countries will hold national elections during your chairmanship. We are confident that you will lead the region diligently as we quest to entrench democratic values, constitutionalism and the rule of law.”
The event was capped by the national anthems of the two countries.
Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa returned home yesterday.
He was received at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport by Vice President Kembo Mohadi, Defence and War Veterans Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Deputy Minister Energy Mutodi and the permanent secretary in the in the same ministry Nick Mangwana and services chiefs.
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