Thursday, June 02, 2016

Zimbabwe VP Mnangagwa Mourns Saharawi Leader
June 2, 2016
Fidelis Munyoro Chief Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

SAHARAWI Arab Democratic Republic president Mohamed Abdel Aziz has died after a long illness.

He was 68.

President Abdel Aziz was the secretary-general of the Polisario Front, which is fighting to end Moroccan rule in Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony annexed by Morocco in 1975.

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa last night visited the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic ambassador to Zimbabwe at his residence in Vainona, Harare to sign a book of condolences.

In his condolence message, Vice President Mnangagwa expressed shock and sadness on the untimely death of President Abdel Aziz, who died on Tuesday.

“We are deeply saddened by the news of the passing on his Excellency, Cde Abdel Aziz, president of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic and secretary-general of the Polisario Front,” wrote VP Mnangagwa in the book of condolences.

“On behalf of the Government and people of Zimbabwe and the ruling zanu-pf and my own behalf, I offer our heartfelt condolences to the government and people of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic and to our sister party, the Polisario Front.”

VP Mnangagwa said President Abdel Aziz dedicated his life to the just struggle for the liberation of Saharawi people with exemplary commitment. He said as president, Cde Abdel Aziz led the Saharawi people for 34 years in their quest for emancipation.

“His commitment to the liberation of the only part of our continent that remains occupied by outsiders was absolute and resolute,” he said.

“In the African Union, where he was chosen vice president several times, he communicated principles of that cause with great clarity. We pray that God would comfort the bereaved family, the Polisario Front and the Saharawi people as a whole. We mourn our dear departed comrade from the depths of our hearts. May his soul rests in peace.”

After signing the condolence book, VP Mnangagwa told journalists that Zimbabwe and Saharawi relations dates back to the time of the liberation struggle.

“We were together in the trenches with the Polisario Front,” he said.

He said at Independence, the two countries established diplomatic relations.

“Throughout the last 36 years we have worked together. He was a revolutionary comrade who had towed the correct African line.”

Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Mohamed Chiej Saleh Ali thanked the Government of Zimbabwe for consoling their people over the death of their leader.

“The coming of Vice President Mnangagwa here indicates special things the Government and the President of Zimbabwe regard to the Saharawi legitimate struggle for liberation,” he said.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Government of Zimbabwe and its people for all kinds of solidarity they have expressed all this time.”

The Front has declared 40 days of mourning, after which a new leader would be chosen to carry on with the struggle for independence. The United Nations has long been trying to broker a settlement for the region’s future. The conflict is deadlocked over a dispute about a referendum on self-determination.

No comments: