On the eve of BOT50 celebrations, Botswana appears to have disturbed peace and tranquility with neighbouring Zimbabwe, demanding that President Robert Mugabe should retire. President Ian Khama is said to have uttered this in an interview with foreign media while outside the country.
The news has rubbed the neighbouring country the wrong way. When Botswana was looking for support for its candidate for the AU commission chairmanship, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, Botswana paid a visit to Zimbabwe where she was received with much kindness and Zimbabwe publicly declared its support for the Botswana candidate.
As President Khama has seen first hand the statistics, violent crimes in homes pepertrated by the economic refugees and our local prisons are full of them. The costs of taking care of those refugees either in holding cells, prisons or deporting them, are no doubt huge. However, the pressures that the refugees have put on Botswana government in recent years are not enough justification for lambasting a fellow head of state on foreign soils. The repercussions of President Khama’s statement about a fellow head of state who has been democratically elected could soon show themselves in a few days time when friends of Zimbabwe, and possibly Zimbabwe itself,
We thought President Khama, who has been the author of several near violent confrontations with Zimbabwe in recent years due to his public utterances against the Zimbabwe leader, will have by now learnt enough, that peace is fragile.
Non-confrontation has been the hallmark of Botswana diplomacy since Sir Seretse Khama days, a consistent culture that has been observed religiously over the decades by both the Masire and Mogae administrations. In fact there is a story that when he was in power, and had a delegation of the EU visiting here to beg him to publicly criticise Robert Mugabe, Botswana’s then president, Mogae, flatly refused their overtures until they gave up.
That said, we hope for the sake of peace and tranquility between the two neighbouring, Zimbabwe would once again, let the latest provocation pass.