Thursday, September 24, 2020

Britain influencing Botswana against Zimbabwe – claim

The Zimbabwean government media claims that Britain sought to entice Botswana, Tanzania and Zambian High Commissioners in London to form a group that would influence other regional countries to be hard on Zimbabwe and subsequently push President Mugabe out of office.

The Herald newspaper claims that on April 24 2008, William Hague, the Conservative shadow secretary for Foreign Affairs, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Foreign Secretary, David Milliband, indicating they would soon be meeting with diplomats from the three Sadc countries to force them to condemn President Mugabe.

The paper, however, could not establish if the meeting was eventually held. According to the newspaper’s report, the “letter also reveals that the opposition MDC-T has been working closely with the British to circumvent the electoral process by finding a way of installing Morgan Tsvangirai as President despite the apparent reality that no presidential candidate managed to avoid a run-off in the March 29 harmonised elections.”

The Herald quotes the letter by Hague as saying, “in the weeks since the elections, I have met with the London representatives of the Tsvangirai’s MDC party (sic). Keith Simpson, (Conservative) shadow minister for Africa, has met Lord Malloch Brown (Minister for Africa) to urge more decisive action and will shortly meet with the high commissioners of Botswana, Tanzania and Zambia to discuss the contribution their countries can make. “I have called on Zimbabwe’s neighbours to send a united signal that (President) Mugabe should go, and be prepared to offer to mediate. We would like to see the African Union and the Commonwealth take a strong stance and back these efforts.

“Britain and its partners should make it clear that they will isolate the regime and impose tougher sanctions if it continues down this path.”We will continue to press the government on these matters,” Hague concluded, “to support all international efforts to intensify the pressure, and advocate clearer action to prepare for the eventual departure of the Mugabe regime.” It is believed that the proposed meeting with the three African high commissioners in London is part of efforts by the British establishment to form a “Contact Group” on Zimbabwe that would also seek to subvert the electoral process. In an article in the April 6, 2008 edition of the UK newspaper, The Sunday Telegraph, Hague said: “And we should set up a ‘Contact Group’, backed by the weight and resources of the United Nations.

“Such a body would be able to pool international efforts on Zimbabwe, manage the inflow of assistance and advance the political process.”
He added that the UK should also lay the groundwork for establishing a military force “under the auspices of the African Union and backed by the major powers” to invade Zimbabwe.

The accusations against Botswana and Zambia gained credence this week following a statement by MDC Secretary General, Tendai Biti, that SADC has been dealing with the issue of Zimbabwe for 10 years, and “if anything it has gotten worse.” SADC is now “in a paralysis of action,” and its members are defending the status quo, with the exception of Zambia and Botswana, he said.

The speculation was further fueled by statements made by the Mozambican Human Rights League (LDH) President Alice Mobota. She said the regional grouping’s leaders were failing to strongly condemn Mugabe by resorting to what she alleged was a “corporative pact” by an alliance of liberation struggle leaders who plan to be loyal and faithful to each other to the end.

“The silent diplomacy means governmental corporativism. Only two presidents have condemned Robert Mugabe directly: Levy Mwanawasa from Zambia and Ian Khama from Botswana. You know why? Because they do not belong to the corporative pact,” Mobota said.

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