THE government of Botswana sponsored MDC-T’s election campaign with the Seretse Khama Ian Khama administration providing material support to the party in a desperate bid to unseat Zanu-PF, the Herald reported.
President Khama, whose Government has echoed the West’s views on the just-ended harmonised elections, is a close ally of MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.
The State media reports that Botswana’s stance was not surprising given the country’s Monkey-See, Monkey-Do approach to international relations where it apes and echoes whatever comes from White House or Whitehall regardless of the African Union’s position.
“Botswana’s posture is not surprising. Botswana participated in the harmonised polls and because of that it has become an extended patient for the MDC-T defeat,” the source said.
“Botswana committed three heinous crimes. It pushed in lots of campaign material in support of the MDC-T. We allowed the material to pass our borders because it was an excellent opportunity to build a case against the Botswana government. This amounts to interfering in the internal politics of Zimbabwe and this is against Sadc principles.”
The source said Botswana’s observer mission to Wednesday’s harmonised election was also funded by EU member-states.
“It accepted funding for its observer mission from EU members, including Britain.
“Upon arrival on Zimbabwean soil, the Botswana embassy debriefed the mission and made it clear that they were observing the elections for a predetermined outcome, namely observing for a damning result as was expected by the Europeans. I challenge the Botswana government to deny that and I will provide evidence.
“I am not surprised by Botswana’s posture at all. Look at its track record and check if Botswana has not repudiated its membership to Africa. As is the case with Tsvangirai, Botswana is always hobnobbing with the white world.”
Efforts to get a comment from Botswana’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Gladys Kokorwe yesterday were fruitless.
When The Herald visited the embassy in Harare, a senior official said the ambassador had knocked off for the day and would be out of Zimbabwe from today (Wednesday) until month end.
Botswana hit the headlines for the wrong reasons in March this year after announcing sanctions on Kenya for electing President Uhuru Kenyatta over Western favourite Raila Odinga.
Botswana later apologised for its faux pas after the whole of Africa stood by the Kenyan leader.
President Khama also took sides with Europe and America during the Ivory Coast crisis, supporting the Western-backed Alassane Quattara and denigrating President Laurent Gbagbo.
In 2009, President Khama again sung from the same hymn with Western countries when he backed Europe and America’s efforts to have Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir extradited to the ICC.
This was despite the fact that the AU had decided at a summit in Libya not to co-operate with a war crimes warrant against President al-Bashir.
Botswana again sided with Europe and America during the Libyan crisis.
In February 2011, Botswana severed its diplomatic ties with Tripoli, accusing Western despised Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi of killing his own people when it was the West that created the crisis there.
Yesterday, Botswana again sided with the West in condemning the Zimbabwe elections which Sadc, the AU and other international observers have endorsed as credible.
“While they found that the election was free of violence and intimidation, and that indeed voting was peaceful, they also did raise a number of other issues about the process particularly to do with the voters roll, and the ability of people to vote.
“We are proposing that an independent audit should be undertaken by Sadc itself, so that there is a way of assessing the situation for lessons moving forward,” Botswana Information Minister was quoted as saying.
Political analyst Professor Jonathan Moyo has dismissed the utterances as “thoroughly stupid”.
“This statement must be taken for what it is, it is thoroughly stupid. It is talking about a so-called independent audit which has no basis on any law nationally, regionally or internationally. This is not a financial issue to be audited. The national elections were conducted in terms of Zimbabwean law and were declared free and fair by all international observers Sadc and the AU included. He (President Khama) is the only bad apple and that raises questions about his integrity. Who is paying him? It also raises questions about allegations doing the rounds both in Botswana and Zimbabwe that he was a participant and sponsored the losers. He should show some shame. He is shameless,” he said.
The Botswana Government’s statement also shocked some Batswana with a senior editor with one of the leading newspapers in Gaborone expressing shock at the utterances.
“Been trying to follow events and as you know, we rely on western media and with its obvious bias, it is difficult to make sense out of anything if you are being made to think in a certain way. Having said that Botswana politicians are not helping the situation. As usual, Botswana has made a statement that Zimbabwe elections were not credible and calls for auditing of election results by Sadc. I have heard the Botswana side of the story and will be happy to hear the other side. Kindly connect me with Zanu-PF authorities whom I can interview. I believe Botswana has jumped the gun in making such statements and it is only fair if we have someone from Zim government or the ruling party to provide balance to the story,” said the journalist in an e-mail to the Herald.
Mr Tsvangirai and Lt Gen Khama are close buddies. In 2009 after the death of his wife Susan in a road accident, he was flown to Botswana to “to recuperate and rest.