Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe last week spoke for the first time about how former Vice President of Botswana, the late Lt Gen Mompati Merafhe ridiculed him because of his questionable legitimacy after surviving a first round election defeat to MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai in 2008.
Mugabe told war veterans in Zimbabwe that even after he won the controversial run ÔÇôoff, he was ostracized by the international community led by Botswana.
Mugabe said Merafhe told him openly at an African Union (AU) meeting that he stole victory from Tsvangirai. “Merafhe, he is late now, even went to the point of telling me that the seat I was in was supposed to be occupied by Tsvangirai
The former Vice President confirmed in a secret meeting with representatives from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and the European Union that he had openly confronted Mugabe at the AU meeting in Egypt.
According to WikiLeaks dispatches, Merafhe “noted that Mugabe had threatened “to crush” any African leaders who oppose him, but Botswana was not intimidated. He said he had personally taken Mugabe to task at the summit in Egypt about the looming catastrophe in Zimbabwe to little effect. He offered a loose quote from Shakespeare, “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.”
Lt Gen Merafhe further complained that “SADC’s continued deference to Mugabe as the “legitimate” leader of Zimbabwe despite his clear abuse of power was hard to fathom.
He argued that with more than 1000 deaths and countless people injured or unaccounted for, Botswana had a moral responsibility to support an outcome in Zimbabwe that reflects the true will of the people.