REPUBLICAN President Edgar Lungu has been conferred with the status of Free man of the City of Blantyre by the Blantyre City Assembly.
Presdent Lungu was conferred with the city status upon arrival in Blantyre yesterday, at the civic centre, by city mayor Noel Chikamanda accompanied by First Lady Esther Lungu.
Thereafter, the President with his entourage proceeded to Nsajika Palace for a closed door meeting with Malawian President Arthur Peter Mutharika.
The President who arrived around 18:11 hours at Chileka International Airport in Blantyre yesterday was welcomed by Zambia’s High Commissioner to Malawi Salome Mwananshiku, Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba, Tourism Minister Jean Kapata, Patriotic Front deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri and Tourism permanent secretary Stephen Mwansa.
Others that welcomed President Lungu include Malawi’s Foreign Affairs Minister George Chaponda and Finance Minister Goodall Nsaka and Zambians living in Malawi.
Earlier President Lungu received the Presidential salute on arrival.
In presenting the city status to President Lungu Blantyre Mayor said Zambia have a lot in common and also share a relationship with the City of Ndola in the Copperbelt province dating as far back as 1973.
And President Lungu said that the relationship between the two cities should bring solutions to the two cities.
President Lungu said the local authorities were facing problems of squatters, public health and distribution of clean water.
“Our people are the same and it’s a great honoured to be conferred with this status,” he said.
President Lungu is today expected to grace the 51stIndependence Anniversary Celebrations set for Kamuzu Stadium in the commercial Capital Blantyre.
Zambia’s High Commissioner to Malawi Ms Mwanashiku said President Lungu was expected to attend the State Banquet after the Independence Celebrations.
Ms Mwanashiku who confirmed in a press statement released by First Secretary for Press Chansa Kabwela said President Lungu and his Malawian counterpart Professor Mutharika were expected to sign the Malawi/Zambia Trans Frontier Conservation Areas (TFCA) Treaty at Sanjika Palace.
“Zambia and Malawi signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2004 to commence formal negotiations for the establishment of Malawi/Zambia TFCA,” She said.
The two countries have been working together in the joint management of protected areas along the common border within the TFCA.
This project was aimed at protecting wildlife in the National Parks and Game reserves and promoting biodiversity in the border districts.
“Through the TFCA Zambia and Malawi will work together to manage the Nyika and Kasungu National Parks and the Vwaza Marsh wildlife reserve,” she said.
On the Zambia side, the TFCA includes the following areas: Nyika, Likusuzi and North Luangwa National Parks, Musalangu Game Management Area, Lundazi,Mitenge and Makutu National Forest Reserve.