The Zimbabwe president is the chief guest at Wednesday's Independence Day celebration in Sironko.
The President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, on Tuesday, jetted into the country ahead of the Independence Day celebrations on Wednesday in Sironko district.
He was welcomed at Entebbe International Airport by foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa, before heading to State House, Entebbe where he was received by President Yoweri Museveni.
Mnangagwa inspected a guard of honour and received a 21-gun salute in celebration of the visit, which is only his second to Uganda. Mnangagwa last visit to Uganda was in 1963.
Clad in a black suit, the visiting head of state, whose trademark scarf stood out, was later walked into State House by Museveni for bilateral talks.
According to Kutesa, the two leaders discussed a wide range of issues including regional security and peace, economic development, the need to expand partnership, trade and investment and the need to reform the United Nations Security Council and removal of Western sanctions that were placed on Zimbabwe.
The bilateral talks between the two leaders, Kutesa added, were “cordial and friendly”.
After the bilateral talks, Museveni and Mnangagwa also addressed a joint press conference at State House.
“I am very happy to welcome President Mnangagwa here in Uganda for the State visit as a guest of Uganda for the 57th Independence Day celebrations,” Museveni said, underscoring the fact that Africans are one people who should feel at home whenever they visit any African country.
“When our brothers and sisters from Southern Africa come here, they are coming home, and when we go there, we are also going home,” he said.
Museveni added that Mnangagwa’s visit has “paved way for a business meeting” between Uganda and Zimbabwe.
On his part, Mnangagwa said Uganda is not only a beautiful country but also signifies another home for Zimbabweans.
“We feel at home away from home,” he said, emphasizing that Uganda and Eastern Africa played a vital role in the liberation struggle of Southern African countries, including Zimbabwe.
Mnangagwa also praised Uganda for educating key figures in Zimbabwe, saying that some politicians in his current cabinet studied at Makerere University.
“So, Uganda supported Zimbabwe materially, politically and intellectually,” he said, calling for increased trade and support between Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Mnangagwa is the chief guest at today’s Independence Day celebration in Sironko.
In August 2018, Mnangagwa replaced Robert Mugabe. Mugabe passed on last month.
During the bilateral talks at State House, Entebbe, Museveni expressed condolences to Mnangagwa and Zimbabwe for the passing on of Mugabe on September 6, describing him as a Pan-Africanist who will always be remembered for fighting for the African cause.
In April, Museveni visited Zimbabwe on the invitation of Mnangagwa, where he officiated at the 60th Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo.
At the trade fair, Museveni called for strong economic ties and cooperation between the countries through market integration.
“We should emphasise economic cooperation. We should enable our people to stand on their own feet. One of the 10 strategic bottlenecks is market integration. Zimbabwe and Southern Africa at large have got a good potential to trade with East Africa and empower our people economically,” Museveni said during his Zimbabwe visit.
During the visit, Museveni also held bilateral talks with Mnangagwa and was hosted to a state banquet by the President of Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair was organised under the theme, “propagating industrial growth through trade and investment,” which leaders, Including Museveni, said was a timely theme for rallying inter-state trade within Africa.
At the 57th Independence Day celebrations, which are organised under the theme, Consolidation of National Unity, Security, Freedom and Prosperity, Mnangagwa is expected to give a speech on nationalism, trade and the need to strengthen economic ties between Uganda and Zimbabwe and Africa generally.
Mnangagwa fact file
· Born in 1942 in Shabani, Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).
· A member of ZANU-PF and long-time ally of former President Robert Mugabe
· He has held several cabinet positions, including serving as Vice President of Zimbabwe
· He was officially inaugurated as the third Zimbabwe President in August 2018
· He was nicknamed ‘crocodile’ following his resistance of white dominance
· He studied law at the University of Zambia and University of London
· He served as Speaker of Zimbabwean Parliament
· Was Mugabe’s assistant and bodyguard during the 1980 Lancaster House Agreement discussion