GABORONE — The frosty relations between Zimbabwe and Botswana are reportedly on the mend following a closed-door meeting between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Botswana counterpart Ian Khama in Gaborone yesterday.
Mnangagwa is on a two-day State visit to Botswana, the first in more than a decade.
After his private talks with Khama, Mnangagwa later addressed Parliament, where he underscored the need for mutual cooperation between the two countries.
Today, he is headlining a Botswana-Zimbabwe business meeting, before touring Diamond Trading Company Botswana premises.
“It has been over a decade since Botswana and Zimbabwe officially exchanged State visits, a situation that certainly does not augur well for the promotion and sustenance of the spirit of good neighbourliness among friendly States,” Khama said at a State banquet he hosted for Mnangagwa.
“Mr President, to have you in our midst is the first time a President of Zimbabwe has paid a State visit during my presidency, not to mention that I have never been invited to a State visit to Zimbabwe either. So you came just in time before I end my term of office.”
Khama said the Zimbabwean leader’s visit was historic and provided fresh impetus for the “revitalisation and consolidation of the time-tested relations that exist between the two countries”.
“We remain confident that you will provide effective and visionary leadership to effect the much-needed socio-economic transformation that will advance your country’s development trajectory,” he said.
Mnangagwa invited Botswana companies to take advantage of the new investor-friendly environment and exploit the vast natural resources Zimbabwe has to offer.
“I am aware of the great strides that Botswana has made in the diamond mining sector. I am informed that Botswana has succeeded in developing a viable and suitable diamond industry. Our relationship with Botswana is going to get stronger,” he said.
Mnangagwa also promised that Zimbabwe would hold free and fair elections in July and invite observers from the African Union and Sadc, among others