Khama’s comments set Bots, Zim at war
From MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE criticism forthright Botswana President, Ian Khama, of his besieged Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe, has reignited a diplomatic tiff between the two neighbouring countries.
Khama, a longtime critic of the world’s oldest leader Mugabe (92), last week called on the veteran leader to step down amid worsening political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe, arguing Mugabe’s controversial stay in power was dragging down the whole Southern African region.
At a time Zimbabweans have engaged in street protests demanding Mugabe’s resignation, Khama argued Mugabe lacked leadership to pull the country out of its crises.
Zimbabwe’s information, media and broadcasting services minister, Christopher Mushohwe, this weekend lashed at Khama.
“The government of Zimbabwe is shocked by this uncharacteristic behaviour on the part of President Khama who until last month, was at the helm of SADC, and should know better that you don’t use the media platform to criticise fellow SADC leaders as he has just done with president Mugabe,” said Mushowe.
He claimed Khama’s criticism was “taboo.”
“Cde Mugabe has at all times cautioned African leaders attacking each other in public as this would serve to strengthen the hand of the Western imperialism at the expense of African unity,” said Mushohwe.
However, some Zimbabweans sided with Khama and castigated their minister.
“Who does not know that millions of Zimbabweans have been displaced to South Africa and Botswana where they compete for resources with locals? Mushohwe should shut up,” said Nevanji Zuze of Harare.
Relations between Botswana and South Africa have been frosty since Khama came to power in 2008.
Khama did not recognise Mugabe’s presidency following the Zimbabwean’s controversial election the same year.
Zimbabwe has in turn accused Botswana of colluding with the opposition and the West to effect regime change.
– CAJ News
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