Zim-Botswana relations reach new heights

The Sunday Mail

Harmony Agere in Harare and Cletus Mushanawani in Nyanga

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa last night bid farewell to his Botswanan counterpart, President Mokgweetsi Masisi, who said relations between Harare and Maseru had reached new heights following his three-day state visit.

President Masisi, who officially opened this year’s edition of the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show on Friday, pledged to further deepen the cordial relations between the two countries.

Speaking shortly before his departure from Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, where he was greeted by President Mnangagwa and senior government officials, he described his visit to Zimbabwe as fruitful.

“Truly, the friendship that exists between Botswana and Zimbabwe is further cemented by this visit. What I mean is a really big thank you. To say thank you very much to President Mnangagwa and Dr. Auxillia Mnangagwa for the invitation. I thank the people of Zimbabwe. Their hospitality is second to none; it’s unbelievable,” President Masisi said. Yesterday morning he visited Nyanga and was impressed by the alluring charm of the attractions.

“Nyanga is spectacular, the place is very high and extremely green,” he said.

“The fish is there, the atmosphere and the fact that the place is so high that you almost touch the feet of God is incredible.

“It’s so refreshing to go to the countryside and interact with ordinary Zimbabweans. When you interact with people who work as part of their day-to-day tasks and understand the challenges they face, these are the exact same challenges our employees face. Thus, the community of purpose is brought together by these understandings.

President Masisi also had the opportunity to fish for trout, among various activities in which he participated.

“I tried my hand at fishing, a little slow at first but got better every time and caught three trout,” he said.

“I also want to go to Chimanimani and retrace the steps President Mnangagwa took when he visited Mozambique during the war.”

During his visit to Nyanga, President Masisi was accompanied by his wife Mrs. Neo Jane Masisi; the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Botswana, Dr Lemogang Kwape, and his Zimbabwean counterpart, Ambassador Frederick Shava; Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs; and Nokuthula Matsikenyere, Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Decentralization.

They visited Nyanga National Park, Trout Farm and Hatchery, World View, Troutbeck Inn and Mutarazi Falls.

The Botswana leader could not hide his excitement shortly after touring the breathtaking Eastern Highlands and singled out the World View near the Troutbeck Hotel as a spectacular site.

Minister Shava thanked President Masisi for putting Nyanga on the international tourism map.

“As far as I know, we are the first to accompany a foreign president to Nyanga and I think from now on people will seek to say what Nyanga has for tourists,” he said.

“We hope that more heads of state will choose Nyanga for their excursions. There are very beautiful places here, we have been to World View, and nothing beats World View.

“The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) is challenged to improve what worldview can offer by installing telescopes so that all the places they mention that can be seen have better views.”

ZTA Director General Mrs. Winnie Muchanyuka, who also accompanied President Masisi on his tour to Nyanga, said, “From the feedback we received from President Masisi, he was pleased with what the senior Eastern plateaus have to offer in terms of tourism. We have been challenged to do more marketing of our tourism.

Relations between Zimbabwe and Botswana are growing stronger.

During his visit, President Masisi held bilateral talks with President Mnangagwa and also attended a state banquet hosted for him by the First Family on Thursday.

The Head of State of Botswana also visited the National Heroes Acre.

State visits are considered the highest level of diplomatic engagements between two nations.

In 2018, President Mnangagwa visited Botswana on his first official state visit after becoming head of state.

Prior to the Second Republic, relations between Zimbabwe and Botswana were sour, as former President Robert Mugabe had a frosty relationship with the then President of Botswana, Ian Khama.

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