“We Are Building Our Country And Leaving No-one Behind”: VP Chiwenga
14 January 2022
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By A Correspondent- The just-ended SADC Extraordinary Heads of State and Government summit in Lilongwe, Malawi managed to galvanise the region’s leadership to realise the importance of unity in dealing with issues of peace and security.

Held at the magnificent Bingu wa Mutharika International Conference Centre in Lilongwe, the summit’s main agenda was to review progress of the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), deployed in that country to combat terrorism and violent extremism in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.

The Extraordinary Heads of State and Government summit was preceded by the Council of Ministers Meeting and a meeting of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation whose Troika Organ is currently chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.

Zimbabwe was represented at the Council of Ministers Meeting by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Frederick Shava, Defence and War Veterans Minister Oppah Muchinguri.

Vice President Dr Constantino Guveya Dominic Nyikadzino Chiwenga (CGDN) represented President Mnangagwa at the summit that took place on 12 January 2022 where binding resolutions regarding the conflict in Mozambique were passed.

The Herald Deputy Editor, Lovemore Ranga Mataire (L.R.M), caught up with Vice President Chiwenga (CGDN) at the close of the meeting as he departed for home at the Kamuzu International Airport where he said Zimbabwe was fully behind the regional body’s decision to extend the mandate of the SADC Standby Force Mission to Mozambique (SAMIM) for three-months.

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L.R.M: Vice President Chiwenga, you had a hectic day today where you joined other leaders at the Extraordinary Heads of State and Government summit to review the mandate of the SADC Standby Force in Mozambique. What can you say are the major take-aways of the meeting?

CGDN:  The summit went on very well, starting with the Officials meeting (Council of Ministers Meeting) and going into the Troika Organ itself, which met yesterday. Everything went on very well. Today, things were very smooth and the issues which are a major problem in Cabo Delgado in Mozambique were ironed out well. There was unanimous agreement on all the issues. I was quite happy with the outcome of the meeting.

L.R.M:  What is Zimbabwe’s contribution to the SADC military mission in Mozambique?

CGDN: You know as Zimbabwe we are contributing a lot. His Excellency, the President has already said we are contributing in terms of training. I think he has already mentioned something about that. Training both military and the police. We are also contributing in terms of provision of food to those who have been displaced. So we are contributing and remember Mozambique is our neighbour.

L.R.M: One of the resolutions that came out of the Extraordinary summit was to extend the military mandate in Cabo Delgado and also to convene an international conference to invite partners in terms of raising the needed resources. What is your view on the extension and the planned international conference?

CGDN: The three-months extension is quite correct because we want to assess the situation. It would be suicidal for one to withdraw and then tomorrow you are told there are problems.

There have been a number of groups and people who have been saying they are helping the Mozambicans. We want everybody who wants to help to come together, so that we all together help one country and not have these ones doing their own thing and others doing their own things.

L.R.M: President Chakwera of Malawi also emphasised the need for those that imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe to remove them because they said the sanctions have a knock-on effect on other regional countries. But the same calls have been made before. In your view, what should be done to ensure that these calls come to reality and those that imposed sanctions remove them?

CGDN: This is why we have said we, Zimbabweans, are going to build our own country. No one is going to build Zimbabwe for us except ourselves. We Zimbabweans, we are going to build our country and we are going to leave no one behind and no place behind. So let them have their hallucinations.

L.R.M: Thank you so much Vice President for your time.