Mmegi Online :: ‘Quit!’Khama tells Bob
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Thursday 18 July 2019, 13:44 pm.
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‘Quit!’Khama tells Bob

While the frail 92-year-old Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe was throwing his usual tantrums at the ongoing United Nations General Assembly in New York, President Ian Khama yesterday made a call for him to quit.
By Tefo Pheage Thu 22 Sep 2016, 16:58 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: ‘Quit!’Khama tells Bob








In a characteristically frank interview with Reuters, Khama said the time had come for Mugabe to step aside and create room for people who can rescue the politically and economically crippled state.

In the interview, conducted in Gaborone, Khama said Mugabe should have left the presidency years ago. “They have got plenty of people there who have got good leadership qualities who could take over,” Khama told Reuters.

“It is obvious that at his age and the state Zimbabwe is in, Mugabe is not really able to provide the leadership that could get it out of its predicament.”

Khama said Mugabe looked “tired” at the recent SADC heads of state summit in Swaziland. The nonagenarian left the summit and flew to Dubai to attend to an undisclosed health concern.

“We’re talking about a 92-year-old man and there’s just so much you can do at that age to try and keep up,” Khama said.Khama said the instability in Zimbabwe was damaging Botswana’s efforts to wean itself off mining - which accounts for 20% of GDP and nearly 60% of exports - by promoting itself as a regional logistics and services hub.

“The unrest was also forcing more and more Zimbabweans to leave the country”, he added. Botswana is home to an estimated 100,000 Zimbabweans - a fraction of the three million believed to be in South Africa - although this is still enough to strain public services in

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a nation of 2.3 million people.

Botswana’s jails held “significant numbers” of Zimbabweans, Khama said.

“It is a big concern,” Khama said. “It is a problem for all of us in the region - and it is a burden. There’s no doubt about that.”

Khama reiterated his government’s concerns about the credibility of the elections Mugabe has won in recent years, but said irrespective of the results, no leader should cling on to power for that long.

“My opinion has always been that 10 years leading any kind of organisation - not just a country or a government, any organisation - is pretty much the maximum,” he said.

Khama took over the chairmanship of SADC from Mugabe in August 2015, with the nonagenarian using the handover ceremony to deliver a 30-minute speech largely interpreted as being condescending, in some parts, to Khama. In 2014, at two separate SADC events, media reports emerged suggesting Khama had dressed down Mugabe in closed-door meetings, over the burden illegal immigration was having on Botswana and the region, due to the crisis in that country.

Over the years, relations have generally been tense between Khama and Mugabe, with the former breaking ranks with the region and the continent to question polls in Zimbabwe and warm up to the opposition there. State-owned publications in Harare, whose contributors include Zimbabwean ministers and ZANU PF functionaries, have frequently leveled attacks at Khama and Botswana.

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