ZIMBABWE – President Mugabe is a strategic thinker and visionary leader, and the continent cherishes his just ended tenure as African Union and Sadc chairperson, Kenyan Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Lucy Jebet Chelimo said yesterday.
Delivering a lecture on “Peace and security challenges in the horn of Africa region” at the National Defence College yesterday, Ambassador Jebet said through the AU and Sadc, President Mugabe played a remarkable role in promoting peace and security on the continent.
“Up to 2015, Zimbabwe has been the chairperson of Sadc and AU, and those are the organisations where security for the region is discussed and maintained, and we have had immense contribution from the Zimbabwean Government towards achievement of that peace,” she said.
“If you look at Agenda 2063, which our former AU chairman President RG Mugabe has contributed to adoption, he is saying Africa can only develop if it is at peace with itself and that would not have been attained if we didn’t have collective responsibility, very good and strategic leadership of our former AU chair,” said Ambassador Jebet.
Ambassador Jebet hammered on the importance of regional cooperation saying peace and security would promote sustainable development goals in the continent.
“Cooperation between African countries is great, therefore we will continue working for more resources and capacity for our governments to be able to stand on themselves and progress to stability thus attracting greater development,” she said.
“Zimbabwe is a very peaceful country and with our observation since independence it has enjoyed great peace, which it has also contributed in the region, and it is our prayer that this peace continues throughout the region for the sustainable development of our continent.”
Ambassador Jebet sent her best regards to President Mugabe on the occasion of his 92nd birthday, saying he was an inspirational mouthpiece of Africa that other countries looked up to.
“We would like to thank God for having given him good years that have inspired the whole continent, especially with the successful tenure of being chair for Sadc and AU, as we have seen two very great visionary adoptions — Agenda 2063 for continental development and Sadc’s industrialisation strategy,” she said.
“With that vision, we should be able to come up with solutions for Africa, or rather utilise our own resources to the point of beneficiation and I think we cannot take it for granted. It is an inspiration from one of Africa’s icons as he has increased our level of voice in the world that now Africa can be listened to. As we see now, when Africa speaks people sit down, listen and write some notes of it as compared to before. So, we thank you for that,” she said.
Ambassador Jebet said bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and Kenya should be jealously guarded.
“Kenya and Zimbabwe’s good relations date back to the struggle for independence and since then, we have quite a number of people-to-people exchanges between the two states through Comesa and government-to-government opportunities,” she said.