Source: The Herald/allAfrica
Visiting Botswana Defence Forces Commander Lieutenant General Tebogo Carter Masire has dismissed claims of tension between his country and Zimbabwe.
He pledged to further strengthen the cordial relations enjoyed by the two countries’ national defence forces.
In an interview at the Zimbabwe National Army headquarters in Harare yesterday, Lt Gen Masire said he was in the country for a week-long working visit.
« Well, basically I have just come to pay a courtesy call to the Commander and leadership of Zimbabwe and to cement the good relations, » Lt Gen Masire said.
He described as malicious and false claims that the two countries were at loggerheads.
« We have good cordial relations despite what the media say. We meet very regularly in forums between our two defence forces and discuss strategies on how to combat illegal border crossing, poaching and cattle
rustling. We are working together and this is working very well. »
Lt Gen Masire said the two forces had apprehended several poachers in the past three months.
« This shows that with co-operation a lot more can be achieved, » said Lt Gen Masire.
He also praised the Sadc Brigade.
Sadc formed a standby military brigade to foster regional integration and stability.
The brigade is expected to ward off outside military interventions that have always been manipulated by powerful Western countries.
ZDF Commander General Constantine Chiwenga welcomed Lt Gen Masire.
He said the two countries share a common history.
Gen Chiwenga said the joint permanent team at brigade level – One Brigade in Zimbabwe and Two Brigade in Botswana – and other security arms were dealing with challenges facing the two nations.
« We have given the powers to commanders to deal with problems be it cattle rustling, be it poaching as Lt Gen Masire alluded to earlier.
« Equally on our part we are trying to share information we get. We don’t have to wait for a problem, » he said.
Lt Gen Masire was honoured with a 15-gun salute before he inspected a guard of honour mounted by the Zimbabwe National Army and Air Force of Zimbabwe.
During his visit, Lt Gen Masire is expected to meet President Mugabe.
His talks with Gen Chiwenga will focus on the role of the ZDF among other issues.
Lt Gen Masire will tour Manyame Air Base, the New National Defence College and the Zimbabwe Military Academy in Gweru.
He will also visit the Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant and Chiadzwa Diamond fields.