25 September 2017

Zimbabwe: Zim, Angola Ties Must Benefit People - Mphoko

Zimbabwe and Angola should take advantage of the relationship they shared during the days of the liberation struggle to strengthen economic cooperation that benefit their people, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko has said.

VP Mphoko, who is here for the inauguration of Angolan president-elect Joao Lourenco tomorrow, said the political relations between the two countries needed to be complemented by strong economic ties.

He made the remarks after meeting the Zimbabwean representative in Luanda, Ambassador Ngoni Sengwe.

"Angola is a big economy and what we have to do ourselves as people who specialise in a number of areas is to provide them with what they want," he said.

"I know for a fact that Angola wants meat from us and because of the civil war they had after independence, we know what they want and we should be able to provide them with that. These are the areas we should be emphasising on and enhance our economic cooperation," said VP Mphoko.

The countries' defence forces have also been beefing up their relations. There also has been constant exchange of notes between the countries' revolutionary parties, Zanu-PF and Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA).

VP Mphoko said the relationship between Zimbabwe and Angola had no issues.

"The relationship dates back to the days of the liberation struggle," he said.

"We were together in the struggle as liberation movements and we once shared a base in the 60s in Congo. When Angola became independent, our operational bases were increased because before that, we only had Tanzania and Zambia," he said.

"We have good relations at ambassadorial level, we have an ambassador here and they have an ambassador in Harare. The relations have all been good and are still good today and we have no complains whatsoever."

VP Mphoko, who is standing in for President Mugabe, is tomorrow expected to join several Heads of State and Government for Mr Lourenco's inauguration.

Mr Lourenco becomes the third Angolan president since the country gained independence from Portugal in 1975.

A candidate for the MPLA in the August 23 elections, the 63-year-old defence minister won by a wide margin against Angola's biggest opposition UNITA, to extend the revolutionary party's 42-year rule.

He takes over from President José Eduardo Dos Santos, who has led Angola for 38 years.

President Dos Santos is expected to remain head of the MPLA party.

Tomorrow's ceremony will also see Mr Bornito de Sousa being inaugurated as the vice-president.

The latest election was Angola's fourth since independence and third since the end of a civil war in 2002.

UNITA fought a 27-year civil war which ended with the killing of its leader Jonas Savimbi by government forces on February 22, 2002.

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