Botswana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has expressed concern that almost eight months after the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) between ZANU(PF) and the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), there are still reports of ┬áarrests, violence and intimidation of political opponents in Zimbabwe.
It called upon those involved in perpetrating these acts to stop forthwith.
In the last few months, there has been an alarming increase in arrests, violence, farm invasions, company acquisitions and intimidation of political opponents.
“Botswana is deeply disturbed by reports of farm invasions that continue with impunity,” said the government in a statement.┬á“We call upon the Government of Zimbabwe, specifically ZANU (PF), to ensure that law enforcement agencies protect the rights of citizens and uphold law and order.┬á
These incidents are unfortunate and deeply regrettable.┬á They must come to an end. ┬áShould they continue, the GPA will lose credibility both inside and outside Zimbabwe.”┬á
Botswana said that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) had been involved in appealing to the international community to extend economic, financial and technical assistance to Zimbabwe.┬á
“It would be difficult for SADC Member States to continue to engage the international community if the GPA is not implemented in good faith,” part of the statement said.
On Friday, the German government protested to Tsvangirai after a German national lost more than US$1.5 million invested in a farm invaded by a top army officer, arguing that the invasion of the farm by Brigadier General Justin Mujaji is in violation of a bilateral investment protection agreement between Zimbabwe and Germany.
Mugabe told parliament last week that he was keen to normalize strained relations with the western and European governments whose support is key to the country’s economic recovery efforts.
“As our inclusive government reengages the western countries,” he said, “we expect those countries that have imposed illegal sanctions which have hurt and continue to hurt our economy and the generality of our people to remove them.”
The United States immediately responded, urging Mugabe to fully implement the power-sharing deal with the opposition and take steps toward democratic reform if he wants better Zimbabwean-US ties.
Mugabe’s behavior after the government of national unity was formed has indicated an unwillingness to change course or to adhere to the agreement, which called for a halt in farm invasions and arrests of MDC supporters.
Two weeks ago, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was so much under pressure from his party that he had to instigate a nationwide consultation of the rank and file, asking them whether to remain in or to quit the government of national unity.
Calling upon all those involved in frustrating the process, in particular┬á ZANU-(PF), to bring an end to the culture of impunity so that those who imposed economic sanctions on Zimbabwe could consider lifting them, Botswana said that it is convinced that the solution to Zimbabwe’s challenges can only be better addressed when all parties to the GPA set aside narrow personal and partisan interests. ┬á
“They must work together in an honest and transparent manner in the interest of the country as a whole,” the statement said.