Zim info minister meets Nujoma

Jokonya briefed Nujoma about the situation in Zimbabwe, particularly the challenges the country was facing as a result of recurrent droughts, but said things were looking up thanks to the completion of the land redistribution programme as well as the normal to above normal rain that had fallen across the region, including in Zimbabwe. “There is a sense of relief that the people are able to look after themselves from the land,” Jokonya said. He, however, conceded that there was need to plan well for the farming season by ensuring that inputs were made available to farmers in time. Nujoma congratulated Zimbabwe and the ruling Zanu-PF party over the good rains and expressed optimism that Zimbabwe would soon regain its status as the breadbasket of Africa. “People must understand that Zimbabweans are hard workers. They are the most hard-working people in the region,” he said, adding that there was no limit to what Zimbabweans could do on the land, even with just hoes. Nujoma, who is still president of Namibia’s ruling SWAPO party, said Namibia was working hard towards self-reliance “so that Western imperialist forces will not manipulate the country using aid as a tool”. He said Africa should remain united “so that we build a strong foundation for future generations”. Namibia, he said, would forever remain proud of its role in maintaining peace in the region. He singled out the country’s intervention in the Democratic Republic of Congo alongside Zimbabwe and Angola, saying there could be no telling where or what the DRC would be today had the three not done so. “The DRC would have been so dangerous now that the United Nations would not be in there,” he said, adding that he hoped presidential polls due in the former Zaire later this year, would be free and fair so that the Congolese can move on with their lives. Turning to Zimbabwe’s Operation Murambatsvina implemented last June to rid the country of filth and unplanned settlements, Nujoma said the programme was noble, justified and long overdue. “There is need for order everywhere. People can’t just stay where and as they want.” Nujoma said there was need to strengthen the capacity of Southern Africa’s first regional newspaper, The Southern Times, so that it can give expression to the region’s aspirations, successes and challenges in regional co-operation and integration. “We are very excited that it is Namibia and Zimbabwe who initiated and are spearheading the growth of The Southern Times. We need to give correct information to our people first, then to the international world. We must strengthen the paper so that we enhance its capacity to hit back at false reports on the region.” He warned people in the region of tough challenged ahead, but said they would overcome these if they remained united. “The struggle for economic independence will be tough. With the situation in the Middle East, prices of oil will go up and with them prices of basic commodities. We must maintain unity, it is a sharp weapon,” Nujoma said. Jokonya said Africans must count themselves lucky in that most of the founding fathers of the revolution in the struggle for total emancipation were still around. The two reminisced over their days together during the struggle. Jokonya was accompanied by the permanent secretary in his ministry, Mr George Charamba, who is also President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson, Newsnet editor-in-chief Chris Chivinge, Southern Times founding editor Moses Magadza and various other senior officials from Zimbabwe and Namibia.

March 2006
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