Southern Africa urged to unite

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—Countries in the southern African region have been urged to continue working together and enhance the common undertakings that bind them together to spur their economic and political stability.

Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, observed that people of the southern African region were bound together by a shared history, similar cultures and strong economic linkages that should be upheld in order for the countries not to falter in their endeavours for prosperity.

President Mugabe said this in Maseru last night during a state banquet hosted in honour of Heads of State and government and their representatives who were invited to join in celebrating the 50th birthday anniversary of King Letsie III of Lesotho which falls today, July 17, 2013.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia, King Mswati of Swaziland, Zambia’s Vice President, Guy Scott, Angola’s Minister of External Relations, High Commissioners and Ambassadors accredited to Lesotho and other eminent invited persons attended the banquet at Maseru Sun hotel.

President of Botswana, Ian Khama and Vice President of Malawi, Khumbo Kachali, were expected to join in the celebrations later.

Mr Mugabe, who represented all invited heads of state and government at the banquet, said Lesotho was an instrumental nation in aiding to liberate many southern African countries and helped educate people that held or are still holding key positions in their governments.

"Lesotho remained resolute to the calls of liberation in our region….. Your country educated some of our people in this region who went on to occupy key positions in their governments," he said.

He congratulated King Letsie III on his 50th birthday anniversary and thanked Lesotho for inviting some heads of state and government to the celebrations.

"We are truly honoured to have been invited to come and celebrate with the people of this great nation your majesty’s birthday," he said.

President Mugabe noted that King Letsie III’s birthday was a milestone in the life of the leader of the monarch of the kingdom of Lesotho because age brings forth wisdom.

"Indeed we have witnessed this wisdom as you have continued to guide your people to sustained stability and prosperity. Through your guiding hand we have seen Lesotho going through a smooth and peaceful change of government in 2012, which attests to your country’s growing democracy," he stressed.

And President Mugabe took advantage of the occasion to inform the southern African region that processes of the July 31st election in Zimbabwe were moving smoothly in full ‘glare’ of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) observers and other electoral stakeholders.

"I am happy to inform you that so far, the electoral environment has remained peaceful," he said.

He concluded by reiterating his country’s commitment to working with the region to further regional and continental unity and to advance their common cause on a broader platform.

Earlier, Lesotho’s Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane, paid glowing tribute to the countries in the southern African region for their unwavering support and guidance when his nation was passing through difficult episodes.

Mr Thabane said many countries in the region helped to shape Lesotho’s political stability.

He also thanked invited Heads of State and Government for responding to the invitation to attend the birthday of King Letsie III.

King Letsie III, the first son of the late King Moshoeshoe II, was born on 17th July 1963 and was sworn into office of King on 12 November 1990 under the new Office of the King Order No. 1 of 990 and assumed the title of Letsie III after Letsie I, the eldest son of Morena Moshoeshoe, founder of the Basotho nation.

In another development, Vice President, Guy Scott, has urged Zambians living and working in Lesotho to consider returning to Zambia and contribute to its development.

Dr Scott said there was no problem with Zambians going to other countries to work because that was another way of selling Zambia and exporting skills and knowledge.

He said the government was, however, looking forward to receiving people working in the Diaspora back in Zambia for them to add value to the country’s development.

Dr Scott said this when he met and addressed Zambians resident in Lesotho yesterday evening.

He was accompanied by Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Muyeba Chikonde, who is also accredited to Lesotho.