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Zimbabwean defence minister in Rwanda on official visit

Oppah Muchinguri
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Zimbabwe’s defence minister Muchinguri Kashiri is in Rwanda for a two-day official visit on an invitation from her counterpart, Major General Albert Murasira.

On Monday, August 2, the two ministers held discussions on how to strengthen the bilateral defence cooperation between Rwanda and Zimbabwe, a meeting that was held at the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) headquarters in Kimihurura.

“What we have come to do today is to among other things, share information regarding the challenges that our two countries face; including threats to do with terrorism within our countries, our region and the continent of Africa,” Kashiri said after the meeting.

She emphasized that Rwanda and Zimbabwe have a long standing relationship which goes as far as 1997 during which a Memorandum of Understanding was signed and remains in force.

“What we agreed to do…is to explore bilateral-level areas of cooperation. Already in the past, we were training commanders from RDF and we are hoping this will continue, there is a lot of pressure from our officers that we need to renew our relationship and continue training.”

Zimbabwean officers, she added, also want to exchange information on what is happening in Mozambique, particularly in Cabo Delgado where Rwanda has deployed a contingent of 1,000 military and police personnel to restore peace in the restive region.

SADC deployment

“We are going to be deploying forces as SADC (the Southern African Development Community) since we are the region of which Mozambique is part of,” said Kashiri.

On the economic front, she said, for all the countries in the region (Southern Africa) that are land-locked, “we rely on Mozambique for exporting our minerals, importing technology and food during the time of need, we also get our oil through a pipeline in Mozambique.”

An attack on Mozambique is an attack on us, so is Rwanda,” she said.

‘Rwanda’s strategic defence objectives’

RDF spokesperson, Col Ronald Rwivanga said “We are strengthening relations with different countries on the continent to combat different regional security threats. It is indeed strategic to work collectively in dealing with contemporary security challenges.”

According to him, working with partner states to combat security threats is a prudent decision by the leadership of Rwanda’s armed forces and government in general.

“It is important to note that security threats and challenges include issues such as terrorism, transnational crimes, Covid-19, youth unemployment, trade imbalances and poverty among others,” he said.

The two-day visit is also expected to strengthen trade relationships, explore ways of developing energy and tourism sectors among others.

“Technical teams are going to meet as a matter of urgency to look at new issues that we have identified,” said Minister Kashiri.