Former Vice President Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe has revealed that the first comment he made to President Lt. Gen. Ian Khama about the just ended Zimbabwe electoral process was that it was a circus.
Merafhe, who led the 80-member-strong election observer team to Zimbabwe told reporters at the Mass Media Complex on Monday that “I have never come across such kind of circus. We have been let down”.
The former Vice President, who was visibly in his element, added that: “I’m not being disingenuous to them. What was supposed to be an election turned out to be something else. That was the comment that I made to H.E (President Khama).”
On what steps Botswana will take should calls for an independent audit of the electoral process in Zimbabwe fail to bring the desired results, Merafhe said “when you are dealing with a government and a group of countries (SADC) you rely on the goodwill of the people. You also rely on the people and SADC to come on board for the audit to be carried out.”
Describing the election as “violence shy,” Merafhe said if the electoral process could be compared to a student writing a test, he or she could have failed because the Zimbabwe electoral process failed to meet the SADC electoral process guidelines in many respects.
He acknowledged that the elections were free and peaceful but that does not mean that they met all the SADC guidelines; the elections should be fair, credible, transparent, free and peaceful.
“There is debate as to whether the elections can pass the SADC test. The elections cannot be said to have been fair, transparent or credible,” he said.
On alleged pronouncement attributed to Botswana in the past that it does not enjoy the fact that Zimbabwe is always on the agenda at SADC Summits, Merafhe said they were not apologetic to have uttered that statement.
“If indeed that statement was said by Rre Skelemani (Minister of Foreign Affairs Phandu Skelemani), I support him and we don’t regret to have made statement to the effect that we don’t enjoy talking about Zimbabwe at SADC meetings or that we don’t enjoy Zimbabwe being on the SADC agenda. Our lives are not dependent on Zimbabwe,” he said.
On suggestion that Botswana was sitting on the fence by failing to declare whether it recognises the current government and state its position clearly on the outcome of the election, Merafhe laughed off such suggestion saying they were still awaiting the results of independent audit of the outcome of the results.
“That is why even the SADC observers only said the elections were peaceful and free and did not make pronouncement as to whether they were fair or not because they want to give themselves enough time,” he said.