The main opposition party in Mozambique, RENAMO last week attempted to block that country’s President Filepe Nyusi’s visit to Botswana.
Nyusi will undertake a three-day state visit to Botswana from April 24 to 26, 2017. The Botswana government on Friday confirmed the scheduled visit but could not shed light on the attempts made by RENAMO to block Nyusi’s visit.
“This will be President Nyusi’s first state visit to Botswana and it follows a successful visit to Mozambique by His Excellency Lt. Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama in May, 2015. During the visit the two Presidents will deliberate on issues of mutual interest and explore ways and means of deepening relations between the two countries,” reads part of a statement from the Botswana government.
Despite the trip confirmation, details have since emerged that Nyusi’s visit was only approved at an extra ordinary session of Parliament in Mozambique last Tuesday night.
A news correspondent based in Maputo, Mozambique, told The Telegraph late Friday that at the special sitting of Parliament, the RENAMO parliamentary group circulated a document opposing the visit on the grounds that the country “has been plunged into a great financial crisis, with negative repercussions on the lives of citizens”.
The correspondent further said that the party protested the alleged high costs of Nyusi’s visits abroad, and said the request for authorisation did not state the purpose of the President’s visit to Botswana or how much it would cost.
In its Friday statement, the Botswana government stated that, whilst here, Nyusi will officially open the Botswana-Mozambique Business Forum. He is also scheduled to visit Impact Genetics, a cattle genetics company and the Diamond Trading Centre Botswana (DTCB).
Botswana and Mozambique established formal diplomatic relations in 1975. To further strengthen bilateral cooperation the two countries signed a Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation (JPCC) in 2005. This bilateral mechanism provides a platform to promote and explore bilateral cooperation in various areas of development such as energy, agriculture, health, education, transport and communications.
The two countries are members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The Nyusi visit follows that of Khama in May 2015 at which the two countries signed an agreement on geology and mining that will give Mozambican access to Botswana’s expertise in those areas. Botswana is also interested in exporting coal along a new railway to the Mozambican coast, where a deep water mineral port would be built at Ponto Techobanine.