As has become his trade mark during official State functions, President Ian Khama Thursday raised the ante against illegal regimes, lobbying legitimate African leaders to disdainfully isolate themselves from such regimes whose quest for power was obtained through coups and violence, until respect for human rights and the rule of law is restored.
Welcoming Tanzanian president Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, who is on a three day state visit to Botswana, President Khama lamented the continent was blighted and littered with unscrupulous and brutal regimes whose existence cause misery to the ordinary individuals and demanded, in strong terms, for the culprits to be brought before international courts.
“We note with regret that Africa is lapsing into the dark days of coups and unconditional changes as was the case in Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau and Madagascar,” said Khama. “Africa must remain resolute in rejecting extra-parliamentary transfer of power by isolating the illegal regimes until the constitutional order is restored.”
He continued: “In the same regard, we should condemn African’s leaders who continually show a disregard for human rights and the rule of law as is presently the case with Sudan. We should also have the courage to render such leaders to international justice, including the International Criminal Court so that they can answer to the charges against them.”
President Khama won accolades in the eyes of the world when, hardly three days into his infant presidency, he broke the silence and denounced Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe’s legitimacy as the president of Zimbabwe while his counter-parts in the region and the continent were busy treating Mugabe with kid gloves as the northern country degenerated into chaos and violence reportedly perpetrated by Mugabe’s ZANU-PF supporters.
Turning to the global financial mayhem which is on every leader’s lips, President Khama informed president Kikwete that Botswana was not spared from the calamity, adding, however, “As we face up to these daunting challenges, it is pleasing to note that the meeting of the Group of 20 countries, agreed at their recent meeting summit in London to assist developing countries with financial support as well as to open trade and promote investment.”
President Khama said it was important that they (G20) honour their commitments.
At a luncheon meeting attended mostly by high profile members of the community, including cabinet ministers and the business community, Kikwete, a former SADC chairperson, said, “Botswana and Tanzania have had long warm and fraternal relations. It is this very co-existence which brings the two countries together.”
Among the early African countries to attain independence, Tanzania is also reputed for discarding of the life presidency syndrome which most African countries tended to embrace.
President Khama applauded Tanzania: “Your country has been a champion and pioneer of reforms in Africa. You led the way in the introduction of term limitations for Heads of State and Government. Today, Tanzania stands as one of Africa’s good examples of plural democracy and good governance. Thanks in part to the wisdom and visionary leadership and for your astute leadership in staying the course on those positive attributes.”