Lungu flies in for first official visit • . . . showers praises on President • . . . leaders pledge to strengthen ties

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    President Mugabe chats with his Zambian counterpart Edgar Lungu (left) at State House in Harare yesterday. — (Picture by Tawanda Mudimu)

    President Mugabe chats with his Zambian counterpart Edgar Lungu (left) at State House in Harare yesterday. — (Picture by Tawanda Mudimu)

    Lovemore Mataire Senior Reporter
    Zambian President Edgar Lungu was in Harare yesterday for a one-day official visit, his first since winning elections last month, and held talks on various issues with President Mugabe at State House.

    Speaking soon after a closed-door meeting between the two leaders, Mr Lungu said he had come to seek wise counsel from an elder statesman.

    “President Mugabe is the most senior in the region,” he said.

    “So, you seek wisdom from the elders, don’t you?”

    Mr Lungu arrived at Harare International Airport aboard the Presidential Challenger Jet at 10am where he was met by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mr Harry Kalaba.

    Mr Lungu was accompanied by his Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Mr Amos Chanda and his Special Assistant for Political Affairs Mr Kaizer Zulu.

    Mr Kalaba said Mr Lungu’s visit was crucial in cementing the strong relations that exist between the two countries.

    “Zimbabwe and Zambia are like Siamese twins and so it is always good, and as you know our President was recently elected and he came to pay a courtesy call on his elder brother to understand how the Sadc region operates and how we need to operate together as one people,” said Mr Kalaba.

    He said the two leaders discussed the need for increased bilateral trade.

    “Zambia and Zimbabwe are closely knit, so we find it important that we need to trade more than we are doing,” said Mr Kalaba. “The two Presidents have agreed on that.”

    Mr Lungu was elected last month in a by-election to replace Mr Michael Sata who died in October last year.

    He had been to Zimbabwe to consult with President Mugabe two months before the elections which he eventually won.

    He polled 48,3 percent votes, beating his rival Mr Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development who got 46,7 percent.

    Mr Lungu, who headed both the Justice and Defence Ministries in the previous government, will serve the reminder of Mr Sata’s term until new elections are held next year.

    He returned to Zambia last night after the meeting which ended in the evening.