Khupe pays tribute to Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

MONROVIA, LIBERIA – The Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Thokozani Khupe, who is on an official visit to Liberia, has described President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as her 'mother' who is doing ‘very well to rebuild her post-conflict country-Liberia’.

The Zimbabwe Deputy Prime Minister made the remark at a local restaurant in Mamba Point on Thursday at a dinner hosted in her honor by the office of the Vice President, Joseph N. Boakai, Sr.

Madame Khupe is also the vice president of the opposition political party of Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). She arrived in the country with her official delegation on December 1, 2010 on a five-day working visit.

While in the country, she and her entourage are focusing their attention primarily on maternal health and health related issues and women’s economic empowerment. They will also visit a number of places including a meeting with President Sirleaf and meeting with the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL).

“Since our arrival in the country, we have been treated very well and we are so happy for the hospitality extended to us by the Liberian officials. When I look at the President, Her Excellency, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, I look at her like my mother, and interestingly, the both are of the same ages,” the Zimbabwe visiting guest told the Liberian officials.

According to her, Liberia under the leadership of President Sirleaf, like Zimbabwe, is going through a transition.

She said, Zimbabwe held elections in 2008, ‘though the elections were marked by problems, we got over the hurdles by forming a government of inclusion through the intervention of African Union (AU) leadership’.

According to her, the opposition political party agreed to the formation of the government of inclusion ‘because in 2008, while the crisis was going on, Zimbabwe had no food, no fuel, no electricity no jobs and there was literally nothing, as the currency situation became worse as people could form queues to get some alternatives at least for a day’.

Madame Khupe: “The opposition accepted the deal by becoming part of the government because we wanted to make sure that there was security, freedom, to further ensure stable economy, get the country into the comity of nations, and to restore other services for all Zimbabweans”.

But right now, according to the visiting guest, things are beginning to pick up though the unemployment rate is yet improved; the country is going through a constitutional reform to ensure that the next elections would be free, fair and transparent.

On that note among other things, Madame Khupe reminded her Liberian hosts that Zimbabwe and Liberia need each other ‘because Zimbabwe is highly impressed and happy that Liberians have chosen a path to democracy and peace since both democracy and peace can build rather than create chaos that would destroy the fabric of the society.

“I appreciate what you are doing in post-war Liberia and when I return to Zimbabwe, I promise, I will be a different person altogether owing to what I have acquired here during my short visit,” the Zimbabwean official declared.

Thursday’s ceremony was attended by an array of government officials; among them was the Justice Minister. Cllr. Christiana P. Tah, the Acting Foreign Affairs Minister, Sylvester M. Grigsby and Minister of Gender and Development, Varbah Gayflor. –Daily Observer