By Nduduzo Tshuma
Sironko — PRESIDENT Mnangagwa was yesterday accorded the highest honour in Uganda of the Most Excellent Order of the Pearl of Africa, The Grand Master, by his counterpart President Yoweri Museveni.
The honour was given to President Mnangagwa in recognition of his contribution to the liberation of Zimbabwe and other Southern African countries, and continued efforts by the Head of State to improve the lives of his people.
President Mnangagwa was a special guest during Uganda’s 57th Independence Day celebrations held yesterday.
“His Excellency President Mnangagwa is a visionary, pragmatist, pan-Africanist, peacemaker and unifier who is committed to improving the quality of life of the people of Zimbabwe,” read part of the citation read out before President Museveni conferred President Mnangagwa with the honour.
“His history is characterised by selfless dedication and sacrificial service to his country.”
The citation traced President Mnangagwa’s history from the time his parents were exiled to Zambia by the colonial regime in the then Southern Rhodesia, and his joining of active politics in the United National Independence Party (UNIP) youth league in Zambia.
It also traced President Mnangagwa’s journey as a liberation fighter, receiving military training in Tanzania where he helped set up the first camp that trained cadres from different movements in Southern Africa before proceeding to Egypt and later China, where up to now, he remains an honorary officer of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
The citation mentioned the role President Mnangagwa played in uniting the former Zanla and Zipra liberation military wings into the Zimbabwe National Army after independence in 1980 and the various portfolios he held in Government until his ascendancy to the country’s Presidency.
President Mnangagwa said he was humbled by the honour bestowed upon him.
“On behalf of my delegation and indeed on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe, I feel extremely humbled by the honour you have bestowed not on me, but on my country. I represent my country,” he said.
“This is in recognition of the journey we have travelled as a people, as a country to where we are today, committed to develop our country, committed to integrate with the rest of our region, with the rest of the African continent.
“Uganda has today (yesterday), on the 57th anniversary of your independence and freedom, given recognition to Zimbabwe. I humbly accept on behalf of my country, I thank you.”