By REBECCA MUSHOTA –
FIRST president Kenneth Kaunda has said he is confident that the bilateral relations, enhanced by President Edgar Lungu and Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn will positively affect many generations to come in Africa.
Dr Kaunda said he was confident that the interactions between Mr Desalegn and President Lungu will benefit many generations because they were a build up on the two country’s warm relations.
He said this when the prime minister visited him at his office yesterday.
“I am sure that your interaction with President Lungu and the Government will produce further fruits that will be beneficial for Ethiopia, Zambia, Africa, and indeed the whole world. What you have come to do on your visit now will affect generations to come,” he said.
Dr Kaunda said relations between Zambia and Ethiopia started way before independence owing to that country’s Emperor Haile Salassie’s keen support for Zambia’s independence.
He said he went to Ethiopia in 1963 to be among the founding fathers of the Organisation of African Unity, an organisation in which Ethiopia played a huge role to ensure African unity.
Since then, Dr Kaunda said, Zambia and Ethiopia have enjoyed decades of good friendships and he considered Ethiopia his home having served as OAU chair twice, which required him to be in Addis Ababa often.
He congratulated Mr Desalegn and Ethiopia for their continued role in the African Union and in uniting Africa.
Mr Desalegn said it was an honour for him to meet Dr Kaunda who he cherished as a Pan Africanist.
He said Dr Kaunda was an inspiration for him and many other African leaders like President Lungu.
He said, while Dr Kaunda’s generation emancipated Africa politically, it was the duty for him, Mr Lungu and others to emancipate Africa economically.
“I am so honoured to be received by you. I am still shaking, because you are such an inspiration to me. For us, Zambia and Ethiopia we are now going further to gain economic independence,” Mr Desalegn said.
He said the two countries would focus on economic areas such as revamping the Zambia Airways.
The Ethiopian Airways, having vast experience in airlines presented a business plan during this visit to Zambia to work on the Zambian Airways.
Mr Desalegn said the two countries should invest in each other’s economy for them to realise development.
The two countries, he said, also had a duty to foster peace in Africa considering that they both have neigbouring countries that were facing civil strife.
Mr Desalegn said he was privileged to be in Zambia.