President Robert Mugabe's government is accusing Botswana
President Ian Khama of infringing upon Zimbabwe's sovereignty after Khama
reportedly said the only way to resolve the political crisis is through a fresh
elections. Harare described President Khama's statement as an act of extreme
provocation, which it claims is an affront to all Zimbabweans. Khama, who has been
a harsh critic of President Mugabe's rule, said that fresh elections
was the only way out of the deadlock that threatens to derail a power-sharing
deal between the ruling ZANU-PF and the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC). The diplomatic row between Harare and Gabarone comes ahead of a
Southern African Development Community scheduled emergency meeting this weekend
to find ways of resolving Zimbabwe's stalled negotiations between the
government and the opposition.
Mkwananzi is a Zimbabwean political analyst. He tells reporter Peter Clottey
from South Africa's capital, Pretoria that Harare's outrage is unfounded.
start with, it is not surprising that the Robert Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe has
responded to criticism coming from Botswana the way they have done. If you
listen carefully, you can hear that it is a very militant response, especially
as it alludes around the nature of extreme provocation and casting the whole
issues as if it is something bordering on war. That is the kind of language
that ZANU-PF loves and we are not surprised that the spokesman for such kind of
talk is none other than Patrick Chinamasa," Mkwananzi pointed out.
He said the ruling party has
a knack for being harsh on their critics.
"It has become quite a
tradition for ZANU-PF to respond to all the people that criticize them
legitimately and justly in the manner that they have done. However, if other
countries like Namibia's president praised them they welcome it. But if the
same member of SADC decides to criticize them, then they behave the way that
they have done," he said.
Mkwananzi sharply disagrees
with Harare over its claims that Gabarone is interfering in Zimbabwe's internal
"I don't agree with such
sentiment. A member of SADC and indeed a member of the international community
are right to raise concerns when issues like what is happening in Zimbabwe
where there is extreme breakdown of everything, including humanitarian
structures, which have collapsed like that to express that concern and hope
that something moves fast so that tings normalize. So, what the president of
Botswana has done is to just express those concerns because the talks have not
been able to produce things that would soon ameliorate the conditions of the
people of Zimbabwe," Mkwananzi pointed out.
Mugabe and the leaders of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change agreed
on September 15 to share power, but talks have stalled over control of
Forming a unity government is seen as critical to reversing the economic
meltdown in the southern African nation.
main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai would become prime minister under the
power-sharing deal, has accused Mugabe's ZANU-PF of trying to seize the lion's
share of important ministries to try to relegate the MDC to the role of junior