Panganai Chakanyuka, the President of a Zimbabwe non-governmental organization (NGO), the People to People Coalition of Zimbabwe, on Friday morning praised Botswana President Ian Khama for having acted on the problems facing their country eight days after becoming the President of Botswana.
Chakanyuka said this whilst addressing a small rally attended by some Zimbabwean immigrants in Gaborone’s White City.
Besides praising Khama, he also praised Batswana in general for having given them shelter in the country when their country is facing political turmoil.
After addressing the rally, the Zimbabweans, headed by Chakanyuka, went to deliver petitions to SADC, the South African High Commission and the United Nations.
In the petition, they, amongst other things, expressed their concern on the upsurge of violence, especially in the rural areas of their country by alleged youth militias, war veterans and state agents sympathetic to ZANU PF, the ruling party in Zimbabwe.
Citing that there is displacement of people through beatings and arson attacks on their properties, influx of refugees throughout neighboring countries, he urged for a quick deployment of election observers and monitors in Zimbabwe.
The petition also expressed concern at the mounting xenophobic attacks on foreigners, especially those from Zimbabwe who are running away from the economic and political crises in Zimbabwe. The petition further called upon SADC, the South African government and the UN to quickly deploy credible election observers for the impending election run-off and that the numbers be larger than the first time.
They also said that South African President Thabo Mbeki, the mediator in the Zimbabwean crisis, be assisted in the complicated job he is doing. Further, they said they would like to see a full time mediator staying in the country while negotiating, like former UN Chief Kofi Annan did in Kenya, not what is happening where Mbeki flies into Zimbabwe in the morning and goes back to South Africa after a few hours.
On other issues, Chakanyuka said that they were greatly concerned about the current violent situation in their country following the March 29 elections and urged Zimbabweans residing in Botswana to go home and exercise their right to vote for a party of their choice on June 27.
On the situation of xenophobia currently taking place in South Africa, he said that they are gathering all information to make sure that they demand that the next government in Zimbabwe sues the South African government for damage to the properties of their citizens.
Just nearby, at the Gaborone taxi station, it was business as usual for some Zimbabwean ladies who earn a living by platting hair.
They did not bother to go and hear what the rally was all about.
One of them, who said that she was Caroline, when asked why she had not attended the rally, said that she has lost hope with the situation in her country and that she does not see the need to have gone to attend the rally.
“Even if I had attended the rally, it would not have made any difference that is why I have stayed here to look for people whose hair needs plaiting,” she said. Asked if she will be going to vote in the run-off, she said, “Well, I do not see the reason for voting. Last time I voted but I was disappointed about the outcome so I think I will stay here,” she said.