By A Correspondent- Vice President Constantino Chiwenga yesterday joined several African Heads of State and government in paying last respects to former Kenyan President Emilio Mwai Kibaki during a State funeral.
The State funeral, which was attended by thousands of people, was held at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi.
Leaders who attended included South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa, South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Tanzania Vice President Philip Isdor Mpango.
President Kibaki died last week at the age of 90.
He became Kenya’s third president after his election in 2002 and led the East African country until 2013.
In his tribute, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday said former President Kibaki was “one of the greatest African statesmen of his generation”.
He added that President Kibaki was a man of few words but of “decisive action.”
Ethiopia President Sahle-Work Zewde described President Kibaki was a true friend of her country before and after his ascension to Kenyan presidency.
In his prepared speech, VP Chiwenga said Zimbabwe was overwhelmed by the “sudden news” of President Kibaki’s death because “we had watched with deep admiration his sterling contribution to the nation building of Kenya”.
In an interview later on, VP Chiwenga said Zimbabwe and Kenya have “close relations which date back to many years ago”.
“After our independence, we kept our relationship and we immediately opened an embassy here and Kenya opened an embassy (in Zimbabwe).
“What is more important is that we now have a Commission (Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation) between the two countries which led to the signing of seven MoUs (memoranda of understanding) when the President came.
“Three were supposed to be signed if this (death of President Kibaki) had not happened, if President Kenyatta had managed to come to Zimbabwe.
“So there is an economic relationship which has developed between our two countries,” said VP Chiwenga.
President Mnangagwa recently visited Kenya on a three-day State visit to attend the Zimbabwe-Kenya JPCC, which seeks to enhance collaboration in various fields between the two countries.