JOHANNESBURG, February 13 – Zimbabwe’s new President Emmerson Mnangagwa is attempting to mend relations with neighbouring Botswana and is on a two-day visit to the country, the first visit of its kind in more than a decade, Botswana’s Mmegi Online reported.
Mnangagwa arrived in the Botswana capital Gaborone on Monday following years of a cold war between the two countries when former dictator Robert Mugabe managed to alienate much of Zimbabwe, the international community and many regional countries, before he was overthrown in last year’s military coup.
Shortly after his arrival Mnangagwa held closed-door talks with President Ian Khama before addressing parliament.
Later Khama addressed the Zimbabwean leader during a banquet held in his honour.
“It has been over a decade since Botswana and Zimbabwe officially exchanged state visits, a situation that certainly does not augur well for the promotion and sustenance of the spirit of good neighbourliness among friendly states,” said Khama.
“Mr President, to have you in our midst is the first time a President of Zimbabwe has paid a state visit during my presidency, not to mention that I have never been invited to a state visit to Zimbabwe either. So you came just in time before I end my term of office,” he said.
Khama added that the Zimbabwean leader’s visit was historic and provided fresh impetus for the “revitalisation and consolidation of the time-tested relations that exist between the two countries”.
Mnangagwa on Tuesday attended a business meeting between the two countries before touring the Diamond Trading Company Botswana.
He also invited Botswana companies to take advantage of the new investor-friendly environment and exploit the vast natural resources Zimbabwe has to offer. The Zimbabwe leader will also address the Botswana Parliament.