Former Tanzanian president Mkapa on tour of Zimbabwe


Former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa
 Former Tanzanian president   Benjamin Mkapa arrived in Zimbabwe last Sunday for a week-long visit, where he is also expected to meet with President Mugabe.
 
  Mkapa was met at the Harare International Airport by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and the Minister of Defence Dr Sydney Sekeramayi.
 
Foreign Affairs permanent secretary   Joey Bimha said   Mkapa had programmes lined up before he travels back to his country.
 
“I can confirm that  Benjamin Mkapa is in the country after landing at 1am and he has many engagements before he travels back,” he said.
Mkapa was the third president of Tanzania from 1995 to 2005. Today   Mkapa is expected to tour Alpha Omega Dairy and Amai Mugabe School and Children’s Home while tomorrow, he is expected to meet with President Mugabe.
 
On Thursday, he will officiate at the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC) renaming ceremony of a block which will be named Julius K. Nyerere House.
 
The Southern African Research and Documentation Centre, (SARDC), is an independent regional information resource centre which seeks to enhance the effectiveness of key development processes in the SADC region through the collection, production and dissemination of information, and enabling the capacity to generate and use information. 
 
SARDC’s objective is to improve the base of knowledge about economic, political, cultural and social developments, and their implications, by making information accessible to governments and policy makers, non-governmental organisations, the private sector, regional and international organisations, development agencies, parliaments, and media.
 
SARDC has five main areas of focus which are pursued by separate specialist departments for environment and water resources, gender, democracy and governance, regional economic development, and human development, in partnership with other institutions including the Southern African Development Community (SADC) secretariat and sectors, IUCN-The World Conservation Union, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and networks of national partners in SADC member states.
 
SARDC has an information resource centre containing over 12,000 subject files on regional issues, a library of books and periodicals, and computerised databases in WIN-ISIS; and is establishing a “virtual library” of internet access to its resources.  
 
 Mkapa is on Friday expected to deliver a lecture at the Zimbabwe Defence College and in the afternoon he will tour some places in Manicaland.
 
The construction of the National Defence College in 2010 was a direct response to national security threats posed by the imposition of illegal sanctions by Western countries and the need to preserve the country’s independence , according to President Mugabe .
 
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army has donated $4.2 million to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF). The donation funded various army projects.  
 
Zanu PF’s relations with China date back to the liberation war era when Beijing sponsored the party with military training and equipment. 
The relationship continued after independence but was to intensify under the ‘Look East’ policy, developed in reaction to President Mugabe’s fall-out with the West.
 
In April 1998 Mkapa also visited Zimbabwe for a four-day state visit during which he   officially opened the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo .
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