The Mozambican and Zambian Presidents, Filipe Nyusi and Hakainde Hichilema, on Tuesday 4th April stressed the importance of peace and stability as necessary conditions for the development of the countries of SADC (Southern African Development Community).
They were speaking to reporters after official talks that marked the first day of a three day official visit by Hichilema to Mozambique.
The two presidents spoke of consolidating historic relations of friendship and solidarity. Nyusi said the two governments are committed to strengthening cooperation in areas such as defence and security, transport and communications, industry and trade, mining and agriculture.
Hichilema stressed the importance of Mozambique’s ports for the trade of landlocked Zambia. “The investments you are making in your ports are beneficial for all of us. So please continue”, he said.
The two Presidents were also interested in reviving air links. Currently, there are no direct flights between Maputo and Lusaka.
“The most important thing”, Hichilema said, “is to maintain peace and stability in our countries, and the systems we choose should help maintain peace, security and stability. On the one hand, we want to exercise our rights, and on the other we have to ensure that we do what we do within the Constitution and other laws. That is, we must operate in an environment governed by a legal framework that everybody respects”.
At the joint press conference between the two presidents, they were asked to analyse the current stage of democracy in the SADC region. Speaking of the wave of demonstrations in some SADC countries, including Mozambique, Nyusi claimed they only happen because the respective governments allow them, and this is a sign of the growth of democracy.
“In the past, people did not speak as they speak now”, Nyusi said. “The President (Hichilema) said he’s the seventh Zambian President, but before him, the environment was different. The word democracy didn’t exist, or, if it existed, it was internal democracy, where people were speaking in a certain context, but now people speak freely, as they like”.
Furthermore, he added, “nowadays it’s not fashionable to wage politics by beating people up, or through wars. It’s necessary that people enter into dialogue”.