Zim and Bots seek improved relations

Harare – Zimbabwe and Botswana will in the next few months work on several co-operation agreements as the two countries seek to rekindle and deepen bilateral ties, a special envoy dispatched from Gaborone said on Wednesday.

Relations between the two countries had turned frosty over the years as former President Robert Mugabe often traded public insults with Botswana President Ian Khama who accused his Zimbabwean counterpart of destroying the country’s economy.

The most recent spat occurred in June this year after former President Mugabe accused President Khama of failing to support his International Affairs and Cooperation Minister, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, who stood for AU Commission elections but lost to Chad’s Moussa Faki in January.

But Botswana, in a statement released through Venson-Moitoi’s Ministry, shot back saying Mugabe’s remarks were unfortunate and inaccurate.

“The Ministry chooses not to comment any further out of respect for President Mugabe’s advanced age and as such, understands that allowances need to be made,” the Botswana government said then.

In an attempt to forge improved relations with the new administration in Zimbabwe, President Khama dispatched Venson-Moitoi to Harare with a special message for President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Venson-Moitoi told journalists after meeting President Mnangagwa that she would be holding further talks with Zimbabwean Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Major General Sibusiso Moyo.

“I will be discussing with my colleague the Foreign Minister and we are going to be discussing on a lot of Memorandum of Understanding between our two countries that we have to speed up and exchange in the next coming months,” she said in response to whether there was any likelihood relations between the two countries would improve.

As a show of support for the new Zimbabwean leader, President Khama attended his inauguration last month along with several other regional leaders. – New Ziana

December 2017
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