Govt blasts out of line Bots Pres­i­dent SHOCK­ING IAN KHAMA

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Tendai Mu­gabe

THE Gov­ern­ment says it has been shocked by the strange be­hav­iour dis­played by the Pres­i­dent of Botswana Ian Khama who this week chose to throw the tenets of diplo­matic eti­quette out of the win­dow and pub­licly crit­i­cised Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe.

In an in­ter­view with the Reuters news agency in Gaborone this week, Mr Khama provoca­tively in­sin­u­ated that Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe was now too old and should re­tire.

This is de­spite the fact that Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe was con­sti­tu­tion­ally elected and has a run­ning term un­til 2018.

Re­spond­ing to Mr Khama’s dis­parag­ing re­marks, In­for­ma­tion, Me­dia and Broad­cast­ing Min­is­ter Dr Chris Mushohwe said the sen­ti­ments by the Botswana leader were a taboo in African eti­quette and diplo­matic par­lance.

“The Gov­ern­ment of Zim­babwe is shocked by this un­char­ac­ter­is­tic be­hav­iour on the part of Pres­i­dent Khama who un­til last month, was at the helm of Sadc and should know bet­ter that you don’t use the me­dia plat­form to crit­i­cise fel­low Sadc lead­ers as he has just done with Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe,” he said.

“It is a taboo in African eti­quette and diplo­macy. Cde Mu­gabe has at all times cau­tioned African lead­ers against at­tack­ing each other in pub­lic as this would serve to strengthen the hand of Western im­pe­ri­al­ism at the ex­pense of African unity.

“In the case of Pres­i­dent Khama, we need not to point out that he should have known bet­ter to keep his views about Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe’s age and ad­min­is­tra­tion to him­self.”

Dr Mushohwe said any­one who ap­plauded Mr Khama for such un­to­ward and un­be­com­ing be­hav­iour was not only an en­emy of Zim­babwe but the en­tire re­gion.

“All those pat­ting him on the back for a job well done are hyp­ocrites who have sold their souls to the devil and do not mean well nei­ther for Zim­babwe nor this sub-re­gion,” he said.

“They are agents of regime change driv­ing a for­eign po­lit­i­cal agenda against na­tional and re­gional in­ter­ests. Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe is a lib­er­a­tion icon and solid states­man who has fought for democ­racy and to­tal eman­ci­pa­tion not only for Zim­babwe but even the African con­ti­nent as a whole.”

Dr Mushohwe con­tin­ued: “The African po­si­tion and that of Sadc is that African lead­ers are elected to lead by the peo­ple they seek to lead through the demo­cratic process of an elec­tion.

“Sim­i­larly, it fol­lows that the same lead­ers can only be re­moved from of­fice through the same process. Need we ask, why is Zim­babwe not al­lowed to choose its lead­ers and change them us­ing the same demo­cratic process?

“Why should Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe be re­moved from of­fice un­con­sti­tu­tion­ally as Pres­i­dent Khama’s sen­ti­ments seem to sug­gest? Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe’s term of of­fice runs un­til 2018 and any­body sug­gest­ing that he should leave of­fice now is an en­emy of the peo­ple of Zim­babwe who con­tinue to rally be­hind his pop­u­lar lead­er­ship.

“The race to the 2018 har­monised elec­tions has just be­gun.”

Dr Mushohwe fur­ther stressed that if Mr Khama had is­sues with Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe, he knows the proper chan­nels to en­gage his coun­ter­part.

Said Dr Mushohwe: “If he felt so pas­sion­ately that he needed to ex­press those views, en­gag­ing his el­der states­man and neigh­bour bi­lat­er­ally was the ap­pro­pri­ate route to take.

“Op­por­tu­ni­ties for him to dis­cuss mat­ters in pri­vate with Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe are there. The two lead­ers met re­cently at the African Union Sum­mit in Ki­gali, Rwanda, Sadc Sum­mit in Mba­bane, Swazi­land and last Tues­day sat side by side at the in­au­gu­ra­tion of Pres­i­dent Edgar Lungu in Lusaka, Zam­bia where Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe spoke glow­ingly about his late fa­ther, Sir Seretse Khama.

“Why didn’t he raise his con­cerns with him then? We sin­cerely hope that this will be the last time that the Botswana leader opens his mouth to bad-mouth Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe and fel­low African lead­ers in the man­ner that he did.”

Pres­i­dent Ian Khama Dr Chris Mushohwe

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