Tinomuda Chakanyuka, Senior reporter
REPUBLIC of China President Xi Jinping yesterday officially sent his birthday wishes to President Mugabe, expressing his country’s commitment to strengthen economic and political ties with Zimbabwe.
President Mugabe’s 93rd birthday celebrations were held at a colourful event hosted by the Zanu-PF Youth League in Matobo, Matabeleland South Province yesterday.
President Xi’s birthday message to President Mugabe was delivered by the Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Huang Ping who graced the celebrations. The Chinese President wished good health and success to his Zimbabwean counterpart.
“Your Excellency, on the occasion of your birthday I have the great pleasure to extend to you my sincere greetings and the best wishes . . . I wish you good health and every success,” he said.
In his message, President Xi expressed desire to strengthen bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and China. The two Presidents met recently in Beijing, China during President Mugabe’s annual vacation and shared notes on political and economic ties between the two countries.
Zimbabwe and China signed mega investment deals worth billions of dollars two years ago and some of them are already in motion. The Chinese leader reiterated his country’s commitment to the development of Zimbabwe and China through continued co-operation.
“Recently we had another cordial meeting in Beijing during your vacation in China with your family. (We) talked about our friendship and exchanged views on how to deepen the friendship and co-operation between our two countries. I always attach great importance to the development of China-Zimbabwe relationship and I’m ready to join hands with you to continuously deepen our bilateral friendship and the cooperation across the board and so as to bring greater benefits to our two countries and the people,” he said.
Zimbabwe enjoys cordial relations with China with co-operation between the two countries dating back to Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle. China has proved to be an all weather friend as it stood by Zimbabwe following the imposition of sanctions on the African country by Britain, America and their allies.
President Mugabe also received birthday messages from African revolutionary and ruling parties who sent representatives to yesterday’s occasion. Botswana’s ruling party, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) youth chairperson Cde Audy Boatile described President Mugabe as an icon and wished him a long life.
“President Mugabe, you are a man of principles, a revolutionary and an icon. Happy birthday and we wish you many more years to come. Long live President Mugabe,” he said.
The MPLA of Angola which was represented by its first secretary in Zimbabwe Cde Antonio Melo also sent a warm birthday message. Cde Melo led the multitudes into a song, chanting Zimbabwe woye, Angola woye as he wished President Mugabe a happy birthday.
Zambia’s ruling party the Patriotic Front (PF) which was being represented by the national youth secretary, Cde Steven Kyengula appreciated President Mugabe’s legacy.
The Mayor of the City of Windhoek, Namibia Cde Muezee Kazapua who was leading the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) delegation esteemed the cordial relations between the two Southern African countries.