Khama to host new Zim leader before stepping down

By Mpho Tebele

Gaborone – President Ian Khama will host his counterpart, new Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, before he leaves office in April this year, it has emerged.

Khama, who will be succeeded by Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi, commenced a nationwide tour from 14 December 2017 in the southern part of the country, and takes the tour to the central and northern parts of the country in March.

While it is not clear when Khama is expected to host Mnangagwa, who took over from his predecessor, Robert Mugabe last November, the two leaders are expected to hold bilateral talks before the end of March.

Late last year, Khama attended the swearing-in ceremony of Mnangagwa in Harare.

Senior private secretary to the president, Brigadier George Tlhalerwa, told Mmegi newspaper that the details of the state visit were being hammered out.

“There is an impending visit, but the dates are not yet confirmed.

It is something we will be working on in the not so distant future, looking at the duration and others. Nothing has been concluded yet. In fact, the ministries start the working year on Monday,” Tlhalerwa was quoted as saying.

Reports indicate that technically, Mnangagwa’s impending trip will be his first state visit, as his other trip to South Africa last month was categorised as a “courtesy call” on President Jacob Zuma. A state visit is the highest and most official.

Mnangagwa’s impending trip follows reports that Botswana and Zimbabwe are expected to sign various memoranda of understanding in the coming few months once current engagements between the two governments are completed, according to The Herald newspaper, which quoted Botswana’s Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation, Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, after she paid a courtesy call on Mnangagwa in Harare.

Commenting on areas of cooperation the two governments are going to engage in after years of strained relations, Dr Venson-Moitoi was further quoted as saying she was already in discussions with her counterpart Major-General Sibusiso Moyo.

“That I will be discussing with my colleague the Foreign Affairs Minister and we will be discussing a lot of memoranda of understanding between our two countries that we have to speed up and exchange in the next few months,” she said.

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