Mozambique and Zimbabwe exchange Parliamentary best practices

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The Parliament of Zimbabwe is on a visit to Mozambique to strengthen existing cordial political and economic bilateral relations, explore possible areas of cooperation as well as share Parliamentary best practices between the two sister Republics and legislatures.

Hon Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, Speaker of Parliament of Zimbabwe, arrived in Maputo, Mozambique on Monday, 28th April 2024, for a Bilateral Parliamentary visit up to 4th May 2024. Hon. Mudenda is accompanied by Hon. Webster Kotiwani Shamu, Member of Parliament and Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade; Hon. Noah Mangondo, Member of Parliament; and Hon. Concilia Chinanzvavana, Member of Parliament.

The purpose of the visit is to strengthen existing cordial political and economic bilateral relations, explore possible areas of cooperation as well as share Parliamentary best practices between the two sister Republics and legislatures. Furthermore, the visit also aims at enhancing the bonds of solidarity that exist between Zimbabwe and Mozambique which were forged during the shared struggles for liberation from colonial rule.

As a result of the visit, the two legislatures have proposed a Parliamentary cooperation framework that will undoubtedly contribute to the continued growth and stability of both Parliaments and the two sister republics within the context of the SADC’s thrust for regional integrated economic development. Her Excellency, Esperança Laurinda Francisco Nhiuane Bias, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Mozambique, had invited Hon. Speaker Mudenda to visit the Republic of Mozambique in February 2024.

Accordingly, the delegation was warmly welcomed at the airport by Hon. António José Amélia, a member of the Executive Standing Committee of the Mozambican National Assembly of the Republic of Mozambique. Also present at the welcoming party were, Mr. Alfredo Vasco Nogueira Nampete, Secretary General of the National Assembly, and Ms. Filomena Grachane, Director-General for Legislative Business. The Zimbabwean Embassy was ably represented by Mr Ronald Chatiza – Acting Ambassador and Political Counsellor, standing in for H.E Mr. Victor Matemadanda, who is away in Harare on official business.

The airport reception party led by the Hon Amelia, warmly welcomed Honorable Speaker Mudenda and his delegation. Hon Amelia expressed sincere gratitude to Speaker Mudenda for accepting the invitation extended by his counterpart, Her Excellency Nhiuane Bias, to visit the Republic of Mozambique. Subsequently, Hon Amelia debriefed the Hon. Speaker regarding the programme for the visit.

On Tuesday 30th April 2024, Speaker Mudenda and his delegation kickstarted their itinerary by visiting the Mozambican Parliament where they met with Honourable Esperança Laurinda Francisco Nhiuane Bias, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Mozambique and her selected host delegation. There was a military parade in honour of the Zimbabwean delegation at the main entrance to the Parliament Building. The army band played the national anthems of both countries after which the two Speakers had a short Tete-a-Tete before proceeding for official talks between the delegations of the National Assembly of the Republic of Mozambique and the Parliament of Zimbabwe. During the interface, Honourable Esperança Laurinda Francisco Nhiuane Bias welcomed the Zimbabwean delegation and appreciated the visiting gesture that is set to cement the fraternal relations that exist between the two sister Republics and more poignantly the two Legislatures. Hon. Speaker Bias recounted how the relationship between the two countries dates back to the liberation struggle of Zimbabwe, where Mozambique graciously provided a rear base for the former ZANLA forces to wage the liberation war struggle.

The Mozambican Speaker also alluded to the excellent brotherly relations between His Excellency, Cde Dr. E.D Mnangagwa and His Excellency, Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, which is testimony to the unbreakable bond between the two sister Republics.

Speaker Bias further appreciated the timely support rendered by Zimbabwe to her country in the wake of destabilizing manouvres by insurgents in the oil and gas-rich Cabo Delgado region. She acknowledged the humanitarian and material support rendered by Zimbabwe, during the devastating cyclones without which the situation would have been cataclysmic beyond measure. Despite the insurgents’ attacks, she opined that the Mozambican GDP had grown by 4.8 % in the previous year notwithstanding the Cabo Delgado insecurity situation and the natural disasters in the form of the marauding El Nino induced flash floods.

It is expected that the GDP will grow by 5 percent this year, which is a no-mean economic achievement. Turning to the legislative framework of the Mozambican Parliament, the delegation was informed that Mozambique has a unicameral Parliamentary system comprising 250 Members of Parliament from 3 political Parties, namely, FRELIMO, RENAMO, and MDM. The legislative business is driven by 9 Portfolio Committees, 3 of these would meet the Zimbabwean delegation on Thursday, 2nd May 2024.

The Mozambican Speaker referred to the extension of friendly relations between the two countries as exemplified by both legislatures working closely in multilateral institutions in the mould of SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF), Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Pan African Parliament (PAP) and Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS). Finally, the host Speaker indicated there was a need to further galvanize the excellent relations that exist between the two sister Republics through periodic exchange visits of Parliamentary delegations. The proposed signing of an MOU between the two legislatures should be prioritized as a further way of enhancing the excellent bilateral relations between the two Parliaments, she posited.

In response to the warm welcome remarks by the host Speaker, Hon. Speaker Mudenda thanked his ‘sister’ Speaker for extending the invitation to himself and the Zimbabwe delegation, a visit which is meant to extol Parliamentary Diplomacy.

Speaker Mudenda indicated that he was thrilled to receive the invitation and underscored the shared African identity and common ancestry between the two states dating back to more than 900 years ago during the reign of the revered Mwenemutapa King, whose kingdom straddled Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, and South Africa.

Speaker Mudenda affirmed that the visit was thus an opportunity to strengthen Pan-Africanism, and renew shared historical bonds as espoused by the Mwenemutapa shared ancestry, he intimated. Speaker Mudenda further accentuated the strategic role Mozambique played in the Zimbabwe’s quest for independence, freedom, and democracy as it fought against the imperialists and colonialists of the settler regime. Added to this, in the crucible of the liberation of the southern sub-region, the late icons of African Nationalism, namely, Eduardo Mondlane and the Founding Father of the Mozambican nation, President Samora Machel, stood as towering freedom fighters whose liberation struggle vision transcended southern regional borders as that vision echoed Kwame Nkrumah’s call for African unity to liberate the whole of Africa.

Understanding that Mozambique’s independence was intertwined with the region’s quest for freedom and independence Samora Machel fearlessly supported Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle, and risked his own citizens’ lives for the greater cause of liberating the southern region. His unwavering solidarity in the context of Frontline States to which Mozambique, nurtured the flames of freedom, independence, and democracy thereby guaranteeing triumph over imperialism and colonialism Speaker Mudenda reminded the meeting that, after the tragic death of President Samora Machel in a mysterious plane crash in 1986, Zimbabwe witnessed unparalleled scenes of mourning and solidarity in remembrance of Samora Machel’s unflinching support for the liberation of Southern African region in the spirit of the collective political responsibility of the Frontline States. The Zimbabwean and Mozambican streets overflowed with solemn crowds honouring the late Samora Machel, as a symbol of African liberation and unity of political purpose.

In that regard, Speaker Mudenda concluded that the late President Samora Machel did not die in vain. Furthermore, Speaker Mudenda informed the host Speaker that the Zimbabwe Parliament was Bicameral comprising of the National Assembly and Senate. Additionally, he opined Parliament of Zimbabwe has 22 Portfolio Committees and 8 Thematic Committees. Speaker Mudenda outlined that Portfolio Committees oversight Government Ministries and their Departments. On the other hand, Thematic Committees evaluate Government policies and their effective implementation.

To that extent, Parliaments have a sacrosanct responsibility of ensuring constitutionalism, rule of law, and legality in statecraft. On the insurgents in the Cabo Delgado region, Speaker Mudenda stressed that Zimbabwe supported the curtailment of those insurgents together with other SADC countries in the spirit of collective defense within the SADC region. Speaker Mudenda further affirmed that peace and security in Mozambique are a condition precedent for Mozambique in particular and the SADC region in general in pursuit of national the development agenda.

In response to an inquiry on how Zimbabwe was coping in light of the debilitating illegal economic sanctions effected by the West and its allies, Speaker Mudenda explained that while the country has been saddled by illegal sanctions for over two decades, President Dr. E.D Mnangagwa directed that Zimbabwe must rely on domestic resource mobilization including human capital to forge ahead with its development agenda. All infrastructural development including road construction and dams is being undertaken by local engineers. In that context, Speaker Mudenda applauded the former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano for assisting Zimbabwe clear its arrears to the Paris club and the Bretton woods institutions (World Bank and the IMF).

In support of the host Speaker who appealed for the urgent implementation of the MOU between the two legislatures, Speaker Mudenda agreed that the signing of the MOU should take place, if possible, before the Mozambican general elections in October 2024. In the spirit of enhanced cooperation, Speaker Mudenda extended an invitation for the host Speaker to visit Zimbabwe at the earliest convenience.

After the interface between the host delegation and Zimbabwean delegation, Speaker Mudenda’s delegation proceeded to the Heroes Square in Maputo where he laid a wreath in remembrance of Mozambican heroes and heroines who lie at that Heroes Square including the illustrious leader Samora Machel. The laying of the wreath ceremony was punctuated by a colorful full military parade in honour of the visiting Zimbabwean delegation. During the tour of the inside of the Heroes Square pavilion, the delegation was informed that the star-shaped structure was designed by the Mozambican architect António Forjaz, as a tribute to Mozambican heroes and heroines. After the tour of the inside of the pavilion, Speaker Mudenda was accosted by a group of school learners who were excited to meet the Zimbabwean delegation. Speaker Mudenda encouraged the school learners to study hard and excel in their studies so that they can take over the leadership of Mozambique in both the public and private sectors of the Republic of Mozambique.

On the same day, late in the afternoon the Zimbabwe delegation toured the bustling Port of Maputo and was led by Engineer Paulo Mata of MPDC. The delegation was highly impressed by the critical role being undertaken by the port of Maputo in handling enormous goods and services within the SADC region including ferrochrome from Zimbabwe and South Africa. It was clear to the delegation that the Maputo harbor was instrumental in facilitating the movement of goods and services in the spirit of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

On Tuesday, 30th April 2024, Her Excellency Speaker Nhuiane Bias hosted a dinner for the Zimbabwe delegation and members of the host parliament at the Gloria Hotel in Maputo. In her remarks before the dinner, the host speaker emphasized the imperative of strengthening bilateral ties between the two sister republics and by extension the two legislatures in the spirit of the example of the two Presidents, President Mnangagwa and President Nyusi who are championing cemented economic and political ties between the two countries including the accelerated rehabilitation of the Beira corridor.

In response, Speaker Mudenda agreed with the observations of the host speaker and stressed that the strong bilateral relations between the two countries are based on robust friendship and neighborliness anchored on trust and loyalty. Speaker Mudenda concluded his remarks by wishing Mozambique a successful electoral process in October 2024.