Zimbabwe: Let's Focus On Future, President Urges UK

President Emmerson Mnangagwa (file photo).

President Mnangagwa has written an official congratulatory letter to Mr Boris Johnson, who was appointed British prime minister yesterday, saying he was looking forward to working with him and his administration in rebuilding a "once-formidable bilateral relationship" between the two countries.

Mr Johnson defeated rival Mr Jeremy Hunt in the contest to replace Mrs Theresa May as Conservative Party leader and British prime minister.

As leader of the largest party in parliament, Mr Johnson was invited by the Queen of England to form a government yesterday following the formal resignation of Mrs May over Brexit.

In his congratulatory message, President Mnangagwa said: "Allow me to first of all extend my very sincere personal congratulations, as well as those of my Administration, on your election as leader of the Conservative Party and, thence, your appointment to the Office of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

"I wish you every success in your endeavour as you take on this immensely challenging task and lead the United Kingdom into a future filled with promise and potential."

He added: "I look forward to meeting you in person in the near future, and to working with you and your administration as, together, we strive to return our once-formidable bilateral relationship to its rightful level, distancing ourselves from past differences and focusing instead on the future."

President Mnangagwa said over the 12-month period since he was elected as President of Zimbabwe, his administration has made considerable progress on political, economic and legislative reforms.

He said reforms were in line with the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) and Vision 2030.

"A key component of those reforms is re-engagement with all those nations from which we have become somewhat estranged over the past two decades or so. Rebuilding our relations with the United Kingdom lies at the very core of that re-engagement process and is an objective to which I and my Administration are fully committed," President Mnangagwa said.

"We are, of course, equally committed to an early re-administration to the Commonwealth family of nations, a process which is already underway. In this regard, Honourable Prime Minister, I know I can count on your continuing support.

"In expressing, once again, my heartfelt congratulations to you, Honourable Prime Minister allow me to end by asking you to accept, as well, the assurances of my highest and most respectful consideration."

Before his election as British prime minister, Mr Johnson served as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, resigning in 2018.

Mr Johnson is on record as supporting Zimbabwe's rejoining the Commonwealth, which the country abandoned in 2003 amid acrimonious relations between Harare and London.

As part of President Mnangagwa's diplomatic thrust anchored on "engagement and re-engagement", rejoining the Club is considered key in mending relations and ensuring that Zimbabwe is reintegrated into the global family of nations.

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