Botswana commended for breaking rank over flawed Zim poll

via Botswana commended for breaking rank over flawed Zim poll | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell on Monday, January 27, 2014

Botswana has become the first Southern African nation to criticise the regional bloc’s endorsement of Zimbabwe’s disputed elections, with President Ian Khama moving to break rank with fellow SADC leaders over the polls.

In an interview aired on Botswana’s national television station, BTV, Khama said the Zim elections were neither free nor fair. He also announced that Botswana will no longer participate in any SADC election observer missions, because the leadership bloc appears to have let Zimbabwe “off the hook”.

SADC has faced serious criticism for endorsing Zimbabwe’s 2013 polls in the face of widespread reports of irregularities, witnessed not only by Zimbabweans, but also observer missions from across the region.

For example the main opposition party in South Africa rejected the endorsement of Zimbabwe’s elections by the SADC Parliamentary Forum observer mission, saying the polls were not free, fair or credible. The Democratic Alliance (DA)’s Masizole Mnqasela, who was part of the mission, refused to sign off on a report that moved to endorse the polls.

Another observer, Elias Bila, who was representing the Federation of Unions for South Africa (FEDUSA) as part of the Southern African Trade Union Coordination Council observer team, called the poll outcome “a fraud.” He also said the polls were not credible.

This was also the position of yet another regional observer team, the Southern Africa Regional Civil Society and Social Movements observer mission. That mission, organised by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum, said in its preliminary report that “these elections were heavily compromised and fall far short of meeting the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.”

Botswana had initially rejected claims that the poll was credible, and in early August called for an audit of the results. But a final decision was later voiced by SADC, with its main observer mission saying the polls were generally free and peaceful.
“I want to correct the word fairness… the SADC observer statement said the elections were free and peaceful, they never used the word fair… that’s why we asked for an audit of the Zimbabwe election,” Khama said on BTV.

He continued: “SADC has set itself guidelines for the conduct of free and fair elections and, therefore, it’s incumbent on all of us in SADC to conform to those set of guidelines and if there is a breach of those guidelines then we have to say, ‘Fine, we have breached these guidelines; what now happens? What do we do about it?’

“And in Zim, we sent 80 plus or so observers and almost every one of them said there were irregularities in that election, and there were. I am convinced of it…So, do we say Zimbabwe is an exception to the SADC guidelines?”

Khama has long been considered to be cut of a different cloth to that of his fellow Southern African leaders, and has previously been critical of the situation in Zimbabwe when his counterparts were prepared to ignore it.

His latest comments are now being commended as an overdue but welcome position, which should be echoed by other regional leaders. Dewa Mavhinga, a senior researcher in Africa Division at Human Rights Watch, told SW Radio Africa that Khama’s position is “fantastic.”

“At long last a key leader has come out strongly to show what a charade the SADC election observer missions have been. It is a position that is welcome and one that should be emulated by others,” Mavhinga said.

He said South Africa, the SADC appointed mediator in Zimbabwe, was the main disappointment in the Zim situation, because its position led the way for the overall endorsement of the polls.

“As the mediator they should have been forthright and upfront with Mugabe that what happened was not genuine. It had serious irregularititess that didn’t meet the SADC guidelines and principles,” Mavhinga said

Khama meanwhile, when asked if he was comfortable with alienating Botswana by being the only African nation calling for an audit of the Zim polls, said: “ I am very comfortable; I would sleep better at night knowing that I have taken that stance.”

The Botswana leader also moved to break rank with African Union (AU), stating he was against an AU resolution that sitting heads of state must not be tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC).


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38 comments on “Botswana commended for breaking rank over flawed Zim poll
  1. Fallenz says:

    Mugabe supporter will say that President Khama is “firmly in the pocket of the West”. I ask if they see a person being robbed, and acknowledge the identity of the robber, does that mean they are “in the pocket” of anyone..?

    Certain of ZANUPF claim irregularities in their own polling… and yet vehemently deny it could have happened in the July polling. Strange how they expect to be taken seriously. I have to wonder if they have any, ANY idea of just how foolish and clownish they appear when their only retort is name-calling.

    I can only guess they have switched off their ability for integrity and being able to view themselves honestly. Civility demands both.

    At least, President Khama has proven to be a shining light in the darkness of African leadership. Perhaps there is hope, after all.

  2. Zombi says:

    South Africa is benefiting from the Zimbabwe situation. Some reports state that as much of 70% of goods being sold in Zimbabwe are sourced from South Africa. That is a big boost to their economy. A cheap easy market which they can create/grow by encouraging the morass or by just turning a blind eye. Faced with mounting unemployment and labour unrest before an election year, why kill jobs by playing fair with the Zimbabwe situation.

    • adam jones says:

      Zimbabwean skills are running most South African firms. The SA economy would suffer badly were Zimbabweans to go back to a stable Zimbabwe. It is innevitable though.

      • Mzansi guy says:

        Ungajabula!Non of our big firms are run by foreigners. Vodacom,MTN, Cell c, RMB, Standardbank, SABMiller, Telkom, Eskom,Discovery health etc. South AFrica has long been a SuperPower even before we felt sorry for destitute Zimbos. I, myself as a business insurance broker have never met a Zim Doctor but instead met countless Nigerian doctor even though there’s less than 200 000 nigerians. Zimbos in Joburg are barbers, car guards, hair dressers, maids etc.. Do your research before you speak.

        • Graham Brooks says:

          I am sure your research would have told you that there indeed more than 200,000 Nigerian, there are in fact in excess of, wait for it,
          140,000,000 yes ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY MILLION and they have a lot of overseas trained doctors. Maybe your research figures only included those that are living in Kings Cross UK

  3. Zombi says:

    I’m curious to know whether anybody has done a checklist of SADC guidelines against what the various observer missions claim to have been violated. Just to try and see what the statistics are. It’ll probably be a very crude measure though but it’d be interesting to analyse and patterns

  4. Tjingababili says:


  5. Ndoda says:

    Here is a real man who says it as it is. We need a few more Khamas for Africa to move forward.

  6. Senzachena says:

    At long last we have a leader in Southern Africa who is prepared to break out of the mould and tell it like it is. President Khama I salute you for your integrity as will most civilised people. Maybe there is some hope for this part of the world. Would that there were more of your persuasion as opposed to the motley bunch of corrupt con men, thieves and murderers who lead the countries which surround yours.

  7. Chirutanga says:

    President of Botswana Ian Khama has come out as our only shining star in the SADC region and Africa as a whole.The rest are cowards and croocks who cannot tell Mugabe the Truth.Mbeki and ZUMA Are the major culprits who have destroyed the SAdc principles.

    • zim reeper says:

      Exactly Chirutanga these zanupf and anc are all a bunch of criminals legitimizing themselves amongst themselves like the mafia.The west need to pull all aid and support until they become a true democracies.

  8. farai says:

    The MDC-T accepts that their leader does not have what it takes to unseat ZANU-PF.He claims he was starved of the resources he needs to do the job. Both accepting they were defeated. Then Khama say no the elections were flawed! Am I the only one seeing a contradiction here?

  9. Reverend says:

    Prayers are being answered…
    Mugabe is dying,
    The credibility of the election is being challenged.
    More will come to light now and another election soon.
    The Truth will set us free.

  10. Practically SADC refers to political parties who call themselves “liberation movements”. This is a distortion because some political parties who were in the struggle against apartheid and Ian Smith are not called to the meetings when these ruling parties group as “liberation movements”. There is the PAC, Azapo of South Africa, and Zapu in Zimbabwe for example. When Mugabe’s Zanupf, the ANC of South Africa, Chamachamapinduzi of Tanzania, Frelimo of Mozambique and the MPLA of Angola meet, they meet as liberation movements of their countries. Then they commit themselves to supporting each other to remain in power. UNIP of Zambia that sacrificed so much is not invited. These then go to SADC to give a false picture that they are a regional representative. Countries like Botswana must just follow what these political parties have put in place to perpetuate their rules whether the peoples of their countries like it or not. They just support each other. Botswana’s president rightly thinks that it is better to leave and let them do as they please than to endorse their evil intentions in the name of ” observing democratic elections”.

  11. NBS says:

    @Reverent is right. As a prophetic voice to my nation I know that God’s judgment is falling. ZPF have been warned and warned and warned. God, in His amazing mercy who is totally patient and longsuffering with us and always gives us time to repent comes to the place where He must simply judge when we refuse to recent and acknowledge our sin. When God’s warnings go unheeded we put ourselves in a very dangerous place. ZPF must repent and acknowledge the truth. They have destroyed their nation and slain their people. 31st July and back were severely rigged. The Lord’s eyes are everywhere. Do we honestly think He did not see?

  12. The truth of the matter is that Zimbabwe has been the envy of Countries in Africa, That is why countries like Zambia and Malawi have supported and endorse Mugabe. Their damaged economies have seen an improvement since the Zimbabwean decline. Little do they realize that at the end of the day a strong steady Zimbabwe will always be good for southern Africa. They think of their own selfish ends. The Twanas on the other hand have seen the benefits of a strong Zimbabwe. They benefited greatly with imports of materials and such during the building of Botswana to what it is now. They also benefited with the expertise of Zimbabwean Expatriates at the time including teachers.So for them they would rather have a strong neighbour. South Africa on the other hand has encouraged the situation thus turning Zimbabwe into a South African dependant. Ironically it is starting to backfire. The South African economy is not moving the way it would of if there was complete stability in the region. As it is in Zimbabwe that we have secessionist waiting to take advantage of the situation so it is in South Africa where you have the Malema’s waiting in the wings.The South Africans would do well to audit their situation.

  13. Mixed Race says:

    In fact Mbeki and Zuma have no real qualities to lead S Africa. They got into that position because of the popularity of ANC.These guys have funny policies eg Mbeki made so many innocent aids victims to die unnecessarily because of his foolish theory and Zuma he spends more time with women than governing his country.They are in the process of destroying their economy and are paying for their naive and misguided revolutionary principles which clouds their proper thinking.Just look at their rand,its now not worth anything worldwide even here in Zimbabwe.They will pay for their ill informed decisions on regional issues.
    The small country of Botswana is forging ahead economically as witnessed by its selection to become the major diamond processing country in southern Africa.This is great achievement for a small state like them.When you speak the truth and respect the rule of law the Almighty God works many miracles.

  14. Mthwakazi says:

    President Ian Khama cannot stand Gukurahundis. He will not tolerate gukurahundism at his door step!!

  15. khama ihama yedu chaiyo, mai vanonzi rita makarau vaya handione vane vana ini mukadzi mukuru here kushinga kunyepera nyika yese vanhu dai tasimuka tapindawo mutrain nyowani iyi yakauya yeZUNDE tiende nayo kunyika nyoro yezimbabwe nhaka yedu

  16. Joboringo says:

    Khama only african democracy chief.most of these liberative parties now have the truth in sight of the zim situation they regreat in mind nehumboko wekutya mugabe

  17. Ra says:

    This so called ian khama is very sick from a mental disorder. He totally insane and need to be sent to a home of mad people as soon as possible!

  18. Khama is the only sane man amongst all the SADEC leaders because he says what he thinks where as the others say what they want others to think.

  19. ROCKSTONE says:

    Thank u Khama for being bold but mind u why was the SADC headquarters built in Gaborone?

    • It was formed as a alliance of nine majority-ruled States in Southern Africa known as the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC), with the main aim of coordinating development projects in order to lessen economic dependence on the then apartheid South Africa. Botswana was most probably chosen because it had enjoyed a long Political stability.

  20. Mthwakazi says:

    Please tell me, when will you overcome or rise above your Shona gukurahundi upbringing?

  21. zim reeper says:

    Mr Khama please may I have citizenship in Botswana.You are the only sane man on this continent.Is there a place in africa where you can work in a stable enviroment and look forward to a retirement and pension with a good medical aid and not worry how you are going to survive the next day never mind the next month.Why would you want to work your whole life and then let some liberation movement (zanupf,anc) live in absolute luxury off the spoils of your hard labour.

  22. JOC says:

    Well done Ian Khama, not something seen much on the African continent – a moral stand. Not a move motivated for political gain but just because it is right.
    What is the point of SADC making up guide lines for elections when they are completely ignored by all the heads of state and SADC themselves. What a complete waste of time, energy and recources. Why even send observers to monitor elections. In fact why even vote?!

  23. Phys says:

    Africa needs more Ian Khama’s and then it might not be in the poverty stricken, corrupt and evil mess that it is in. Well done Mr Khama – we salute you Sir.

  24. Greyhora says:

    Well done Bots, you say it as it is, without mincing words or sugar-coating.

  25. Rukweza says:

    You hear zimbos saying tswanas are puppets at list they are enjoying fruits of diamonds whylist you are letting few benefit including chinese so who is more puppet botswana or zimbos?

    • Timba says:

      Wakamboendako ukanoona zviriko. Vanogezera mukandiro vakazara ma toilet egomba mutonaz woti varikudya yemadiamonds. Kumwe kwakutorwara chete

  26. William Norris says:

    President Khama’s mother is White so it’s expected he will sympathize with the Whites of Zimbabwe. That’s really OK.

    However he can never take away this achievement – Zimbabwe has created hundreds of thousands of Black African landowners and redressed an historic evil.

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