Philadelphia, which is Greek for “brotherly love,” reigned supreme as Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera had an audience with his neighbouring Zambia counterpart, Hakainde Hichilema in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Wednesday.
This was on the sidelines of the 42nd Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government, at the prestigious Palais du Peuple in the Capital, Kinshasa that has since drawn to a close.
It is reported that the two dwelt their talks on enhancing the bilateral ties existing between their respective countries, with an emphasis of boosting trade and fostering peace and security.
Addressing the press shortly after the talks with Hichilema, Chakwera confirmed that the meeting also aimed at promoting a sense of brotherhood between Malawi and Zambia, given the countries’ shared roots.
On trade, Chakwera cited the establishment of a One Stop Centre at Mwami Border in Mchinji as key to growing the socio-economic development through increased trade between the two countries.
The centre, that has now reached completion stage, would help improve efficiency at the border post once it becomes officially opened.
Chakwera also took time to hail his Zambian counterpart for the role his government played in ensuring Chinese fugitive Lu Ke, who had fled to the neighbouring country after being implicated in racial exploitation crimes on Malawinan minors, face the law.
Zambia also helped repatriate bodies of three Central Medical Stores Trust officials who died on duty in a road traffic accident in the Zambian Southern Province of Silwili earlier this month.
In his remarks, the Zambian leader echoed Chakwera’s sentiments regarding the similarities that transcend Malawi and Zambia’s borders.
Hichilema also accentuated the need for corroboration in order to foster economic growth for both parties.
He said he was pleased with the bilateral talks with Chakwera where he revealed the two spoke about shared values, how they would create jobs and build innovative economies together through regional integration projects; also citing the One Stop border post at Mwami.
The Zambian President said: “Our people are our greatest assets and it is them who we must invest in to move forward as a region. We’ve an obligation to support our children and invest in them for our future. Our guiding principle is to optimise on the available trade and investment opportunities in the region and beyond.”
Earlier in the day, during the official opening ceremony of the Summit, Hichilema delivered his maiden address at a SADC event in which he reiterated on the need of a united region that can “move together with one vision towards progress and development for the people of our region and continent.”
“In our tradition, as the youngest member, I should be the one to get water for my elders here, but if I can ask something, it’s that we put peace and stability back on our agenda since instability anywhere is instability everywhere. Peace and Prosperity go hand in hand,” said the Zambian President.
Hichilema ended his impressive address by commending the SADC Community for being with Zambia “in our democratic process, before, during, and after the elections.”