Prosper Ndlovu, Business Editor
NAMIBIAN President Cde Hage Geingob could not hide his admiration for Zimbabwe’s land reform programme yesterday when he showered praises on President Mugabe whom he described as an African icon.
Addressing thousands of people who gathered to witness the official opening of the 58th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo Cde Geingob expressed gratitude to the hospitality he received in Zimbabwe, a country he said has long standing cordial relations with Namibia.
“When I received the letter from one of the iconic leaders of Africa’s independence movements, His Excellency Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe, to pay a state visit to Zimbabwe and be the guest of honour for the 58th Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, there was no question as to where I would be on the 28th of April 2017. So here I am,” he said drawing cheer from the bumper crowd.
President Geingob said the land question was an emotive issue in Africa as he admitted that many African governments were struggling to redress the inequalities in wealth distribution.
He said while Zimbabwe has suffered for redistributing its land to its people, the pain was temporary.
“When we talk about the land issue, long time ago in my thesis, I said that Zimbabwe is delivering a child through caesarean section, it might be painful at that moment but after a while the baby will have been born.
“Whereas we (Namibia) are trying to expect the child to be delivered through the normal nine months period and now nine months have become 27 years,” said President Geingob amid thunderous applause.
“So I have said we must have another land conference …to seriously address the inequalities we have and also the land issue.”
He, however, dismissed some media reports that had suggested that his visit to Zimbabwe was meant to seek advice from President Mugabe on the land question.
President Geingob stressed the need to embrace inclusivity in redistributing wealth saying this was crucial in bringing peace and harmony in the country.
He warned that exclusive economic processes and policies have a tendency to breed conflict and disaster.
President Geingob challenged businesses to embrace transparency and accountability to gain stakeholder trust and condemned the private sector for being too secretive in their operations.
He said his country was open to investment from Zimbabwe and the rest of the world hence it has rolled out a programme to attract investors.
President Geingob said Namibia was the gate way to Africa and the southern region in particular.
Riding on reform policies, he said his country has been ranked 10th most competitive economy in Africa, according to the World Economic Forum, offering a wide range of incentives to both local and foreign investors.
He said his delegation enjoyed its stay in Zimbabwe whose warm welcome leaves a lasting impression.
“These actions have not gone unnoticed by me and my delegation and all the people of Namibia. These actions are a true expression of the historic long standing and fraternal bonds that are shared between the people of Zimbabwe and the people of Namibia,” said President Geingob.