The Herald (Harare)

22 January 2013

Zimbabwe: African Leaders Hail GPA Parties

African leaders have hailed parties in the inclusive Government for finally reaching an agreement in the constitution-making process.

Vice-presidents from various African countries who were in Zimbabwe for Vice President Landa John Nkomo's burial in Harare yesterday said the country could now move forward after the breakthrough last week.

The leaders - Zambian Vice President Guy Scott, his South African counterpart Mr Kgalema Motlanthe, VP Ponatshego Kedikilwe (Botswana), Tanzania's Vice President Dr Mohammed Chalib Bilal, Namibian Prime Minister and Swapo vice president Dr Hage Geingob - paid courtesy calls on President Mugabe at State House after the burial.

They also took time to pay their condolences to President Mugabe.

President Mugabe apprised the visiting leaders on the recent agreement made in the constitution making process.

Speaking after meeting President Mugabe, VP Scott said the visit was in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe during their period of mourning.

He described the late VP Nkomo as a "fine and friendly" man.

"We came here to show that we are with you as you mourn such a great man that we have known for a long time," he said.

VP Motlanthe said President Mugabe had also briefed him about the latest developments in the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement.

"We are glad that there has been a breakthrough in the constitution making process and you are ready to go for referendum and elections. From now on, it's all systems go," he said.

Botswana VP Kedikilwe said he was delighted that parties in the inclusive Government had found common ground during the constitution-making process.

"We now hope that Parliament will endorse the draft Constitution to allow the country to move on."

He said Botswana was eager to enhance trade with Zimbabwe so that both countries benefit from their resources.

VP Bilal said VP Nkomo's death was a great loss to the people of Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole.

"Zimbabwe has lost a great patriot. A great lover of the people for he did so much for the people."

He said Tanzania greatly appreciated the agreement in the constitution-making process.

GPA principals last week resolved all outstanding issues that had stalled the constitution-making process paving the way for the completion of a new charter for Zimbabwe.

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