SADC leaders urged to follow Botswana lead over disputed Zim polls

via SADC leaders urged to follow Botswana lead over disputed Zim polls | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell on Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Leaders in the Southern African region have been urged to follow the lead of Botswana’s President Ian Khama in condemning Zimbabwe’s 2013 elections as neither fair nor credible.

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”. The Botswana President insisted that the elections were never fair, and that the rules that govern democratic elections in Southern African were not followed in Zimbabwe’s case.

“SADC has set itself guidelines for the conduct of free and fair elections…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,” Khama said.

He added: “So, the point was just to say that we must fix the problem because if the guidelines were violated and you create that precedent in Zimbabwe, then it means the next election, because Zimbabwe is going to have elections again, they are likely to repeat the same irregularities. So, do we say Zimbabwe is an exception to the SADC guidelines?”

Khama’s comments fly in the face of SADC’s endorsement of Zimbabwe’s elections, which have also been disputed by the opposition MDCs in Zimbabwe, civil society groups and regional observer teams present during the polls.

One of the observers, Masizole Mnqasela, the South African Shadow Minister for Home affairs from the Democratic Alliance (DA), refused to sign off on a SADC report that endorsed the polls. He defended his position this week and said other SADC leaders should learn from Khama’s statement.

“The election process could not be regarded as a process that was free, or proper. It was a process that lacked credibility and was unconstitutional. So one could not help but declare them unconstitutional and they could not be condoned,” Mnqasela told SW Radio Africa’s Diaspora Diaries series.

He explained that the principles that govern SADC’s commitment to democracy and development need to be upheld, for the good of the entire region.

“If we as a region are able to stand up together, it would be good not just for Zimbabwe’s future, but other countries too. So any country and any leader will know that if you do what happened in Zimbabwe, we will not support you. If you break the rules, you won’t be supported, as Khama has rightly said,” Mnqasela added.

Piers Pigou, the Southern Africa Project director at the International Crisis Group, meanwhile questioned what has prompted Khama to voice his concerns, so long after Zimbabwe’s July polls.

“Botswana is often singled out and accused of not following the regional line, and we knew that they were unhappy about Zimbabwe’s polls before and even wanted an audit,” Pigou said.

He added: “So we are left speculating about what has prompted this. What is outstanding from the observation process is the publication of a final report on the elections by SADC itself, and it may have something to do with that.”

That report is understood to be in the hands of Namibia’s President Hifikepunye Pohamba, the current chair of the SADC Troika. Pigou said the “cynical argument” about the delay could be that this is a deliberate attempt to put as much time as possible between the polls and report.

“So Khama’s comments could reflect a level of desperation and exasperation with SADC and the failure to address the issues in Zimbabwe’s elections,” Pigou said.

Meanwhile Zimbabwe’s Minister of Information, Jonathan Moyo, gave a scathing reaction to Khama’s comments, saying the Botswana President was only seeking the attention of the European Union (EU), ahead of an EU meeting on Zimbabwe’s targeted restrictive measures.

“We are of course aware that the EU’s annual review of its illegal sanctions is scheduled for around February 19. Nobody should be surprised that the usual voices that have traditionally supported the self-indulgent and evil Anglo-Saxon sanctions about this time of the year since 2003 are at it again ahead of the February 19 EU meetings in Brussels,” Moyo said.


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25 comments on “SADC leaders urged to follow Botswana lead over disputed Zim polls
  1. Senzachena says:

    The rest of SADC do not have the balls to break ranks and support Botswana’s position. They are too scared that others might point finger at them, and expose their sins. Trash

  2. Sekuru Mapenga says:

    Botswana’s position is mature and progressive. SADC needs to follow its own guidelines or it will lose all credibility as a multi-state organization.

    • Senzachena says:

      Sekuru, SADC lost its credibility long ago, it is an old boys club where nobody (Except Botswana) will rock the boat. This because the vast majority of them have dirt on their hands. Those who attend the numerous SADC meetings held for one reason or another dont want to change the status quo, or rock the boat as it is one big party, together with expensive whisky, good looking women and time to blow their trumpets to all and sundry who are equally incompetant/crooked. I know I have been there.
      The AU is no better. Trash!

  3. NBS says:

    SADC would be forced to take cognisance if it received millions of signatures from the people of Zimbabwe and a united opposition and civic movement. We just cannot get it right. By the time I have finished typing this we will probably have yet another MDC and NCA. It is pathetic. Who will stand up and lead this nation?

  4. Zvakwana says:

    It will be difficult for the rest of SADC to now come out and openly break rank when they have been paid so handsomely to turn a blind eye.

  5. NBS says:

    SADC will reap what it has sown. Be warned!

    • NBS if it was possible to get signatures it would of been done long time ago. The Zimbabwe’s version of the CIA is so heavily staffed that you cannot even cough and the CIO know about it. They would never permit such a situation. Some of those assigned with getting the signatures would disappear.Those signing would be followed and beaten by unknown people. One of the brothers talked about an injured snake biting itself. That is what is happening now. You can see by the headlines even in the government’s mouthpiece the Herald. I strongly believe Khama’s statements will accelerate the process of Southern Africa going full circle.

      South Africa’s main opposition party has announced anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele will be its presidential candidate this year.

      Ms Ramphele, the companion of late black consciousness leader Steve Biko, only formed her Agang party last year.

      Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said there was “no better person” than Ms Ramphele to lead their election bid.

      Analysts say the move is intended to ward off accusations that the DA is “too white” to win power.

      The two leaders said they were joining forces to bring unity to South Africa – the “unity Madiba [Nelson Mandela] fought for”.

      This is a development that might give the South African Government a wake up call.

  6. Khaya'bonina says:

    Khama is bringing another pain to our hearts , why so late , yes i know he was not happy soon after the elections , but he decided to keep queit about this , he joined the SADAC gathering which was held at Zambia soon after the Zimbabwe elections , he shaked hands with Mugabe , was that not sort of congradulating him ??? MDC and other opposition parties raised their unhappiness about the elections , they did receive the needed support from SADAC leaders including Khama , it would be difficult or even cause more harm to the situation of Zimbabwe to try to reverse the results of the elections at this stage , the damage had been badly done , better for us to swallow that courage till 2018 .

  7. farai says:

    So Khama is convinced that the elections were neither free nor fair. And Mnqansela believes they were unconstitutional. The two are gifted with insights and capabilities much greater than the whole of SADC and all the other observers who were here?! Is anyone able to qualify their personal views? What is the basis of their assertions? If the majority of observers express an opinion that is contra to HRH Ian Seretse Khama, is it possible the monarchy could be wrong? I do not care much about Ian who basically owes his position to what the Americans call the “sperm factor!” He is entitled to hold whatever position he wants on Zimbabwe however I long for the day when H.E. Will decide to pay attention to him.

  8. Khaya'bonina says:

    Mere words Mr Khama , what is the way forward , give us a green light , by excluding your country from SADAC activities its good but still not enough to us Zimbabweans , its like the sanctions which were possed to Mugabe and his cronies , these sanctions have turned to be indirectly possed to us , the impact of the sanctions is more affecting us the disadvantaged people of Zimbabwe , Mr Khama where is the report from SADAC pertaing the elections of Zim , why not yet officially released , tell us more , you are part of that report drafting , the truth must be said .

  9. Khaya'bonina says:

    Khama , i am about to salute you , my hand is sitll halfway , tell us more and receive my completely salute .

  10. Tongoona says:

    Africa, Africa, Africa hear Zimbabweans crying for democracy, and for free and fair elections. SADC, SADC, SADC hear the crying of the people of Zimbabwe calling for political freedom and fairness. International community, hear the cry of Zimbabweans calling for their right to free and fair elections.The last elections in Zimbabwe were not free and fair. It is a good idea that there be an audit of Zim’s July 31, 2013 general elections. SADC must concertedly devalue Zimbabwe’s last elections and move towards another election sooner than later. Five years under rule by a government of a dubious character is like five years in hell.

  11. Bee says:

    Mr Khama – too little, too late!! Why the delay?

  12. Khaya'bonina says:

    @Bee , you are very brief and correct , i wonder whether Khama is betrayed us or not , i don’t have confidence on his words presently , he must stand up for the truth and speel the beans .

  13. Khaya'bonina says:

    has betrayed us or not

  14. I don,t think he betrayed anybody. He is just sick and tired of being with this club of cheats and not being able to do anything about it. ALL HE IS SAYING IS THAT HE WILL NOT BE PART OF IT ANY MORE. It is common knowledge that the Botswana delegation refused to endorse this farce. It is common knowledge that their voices were drowned by other African nations. Khaya’bonina sorry my friend no one is going to buy the betrayal line. Just as very few Zimbabweans will buy that Zanu won the elections. That was apparent by the lack of celebration.

  15. By the way Sir my salute is all the way up for a leader of a land locked country that took on the might of a cheating Sadec.

  16. Ra says:

    @ Tongoona cry for sanctions to be removed not about elections, by the way do you eat free and fair elections? Wake up and smell the coffee!

  17. Morris says:

    Anyone who says Khama left this till late could have missed some news or has a short memory. Right from the start, Botswana said it as he said it now. They asked for an audit way back. There was even a statement like “Khama finally accepts Mugabe”. It should have been in Malawi, SADC summit. Khama and Botswana are consistent. What happens next is not in Khama’s domain of authority, he outlined Botswana’s position and his wish. The next step is the regional body itself. Either it addresses Zimbabwe’s violation of SADC guidelines or Botswana will not be part of future SADC mission. In diplomatic circles that is very harsh.

  18. farai says:

    Which guidelines were violated? Any intelligent specifics. Khama is a dull fag! Malema was right, it’s time the region rid itself of this curse. He presents a threat to regional peace and security.

  19. farai says:

    I suppose he will boycott the summit this year and suspend participation in all it’s activities during the chairmanship of Bob.

  20. Morris Thank you for an opinion of reason. I do not know why anyone would fault Botswana for their opinion. If Botswana was in Europe they would have been refused observation status. Zimbabwe was forced to have Botswana there because Botswana are part of SADEC.The Zanu party knew full well that Botswana would not like what they were doing. They underestimated Khama. They thought he would fall in line. SADEC is now deafenally quiet.They know full what they done. They did not count on this little giant country calling a spade a spade because they are used of us listening to them when they tell us a table.

  21. Chatunga says:

    Mugarbage has become undesirable on mother earth, almighty please take this rat away , and let him stay with his like with horns and hoofs

  22. Personally I have learnt from this debate. I have seen the pain in people on this forums hearst. I have also seen different opinions. Ladies and gentleman, this is how we grow. I am always hoping I don’t offend anyone, but these kind of debates make us stronger. So I salute you all and ask for forgiveness where I have erred.

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