Botswana President Ian Khama made good of his threat to boycott yesterday‘s (August 16, 2008) SADC meeting in South Africa.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Botswana on Friday he said that Botswana does not accept results of the June 27th run-off elections in Zimbabwe “as it violated the core principles of SADC, the African Union and the United Nations”.
The Foreign Ministry said that the legal process of producing a government in Zimbabwe had failed leading to the on-going talks aimed at forming a government in that country and, therefore, the authorities in Harare “under the present circumstances should not be represented at the political level at any SADC summit as that would be equal to giving them legitimacy”.
“It is against this background that Botswana has urged, and continues to urge, SADC to assume its responsibilities by taking pro-active steps that are consistent with its principles and objectives,” the statement said. “It is Botswana’s view that in order to preserve the equity and integrity of the on-going negotiation process, all parties should be treated as equals.”
Botswana has emerged as the most vocal African country on the Zimbabwean quagmire.
Only two days after assuming the presidency in April this year, President Ian Khama caused an extra-ordinary session of SADC to debate the Zimbabwean crisis.
At the last AU Summit in Egypt, Botswana broke ranks with other African countries and stated that it did not recognize Mugabe as the president of Zimbabwe with Skelemani saying that “those who pretend” to be presidents of their countries should not be allowed to attend SADC meetings.
And only last week, Khama again showed his no-nonsense attitude towards the Zimbabwean issue when he deported four Zimbabwean nationals among whom were former Herald news editor and Mugabe propagandist, Caesar Zvayi, and Mr Gabriel Chaibva, an MDC-Mutambara parliamentarian.
The Botswana Government said the Foreign Affairs Minister, Phandu Skelemani, would attend the SADC meeting to receive the mediation report from South African President Thabo Mbeki.