Botswana calls for Zimbabwe’s suspension

 1 July - Botswana has called for the suspension of Zimbabwe from African Union and Southern African Development Community meetings following President Robert Mugabe's reelection into country's presidency.

Botswana’s call for suspension is a direct result of the widely condemned elections held on 27 June where Zimbabwean voters went to one-sided presidential run-off polls after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had withdrawn from the contest.

A statement by Botswana is the toughest public statement from one of Zimbabwe’s neighbours since Mr Mugabe was sworn in on Sunday.

“Their participation in the meetings of the two organisations would give unqualified legitimacy to a process which can not be considered legitimate,” said Vice President Mompati Merafhe.

“It is also Botswana’s strong view that the mediation process must treat both parties as equals,” Ms Merafhe said.

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has also called for Mr Mugabe, to be suspended from the African Union after an election which extended the veteran leader’s 28-year rule.

Summit delegates had earlier said leaders were divided between those who wanted a strong statement about Zimbabwe and others who were reluctant to publicly censure Mr Mugabe.

The divisions in the summit are clear indications that the summit would not come out with a firm stance on Zimbabwe after the election that provoked unprecedented African criticism and widespread international condemnation.

As viewed by some African leaders, the only way out of Zimbabwean political impasse is to engage the government and opposition to form the government of national unity.

Mr Mugabe’s spokesman rejected ideas being floated for a Kenyan-style power-sharing deal and MDC Secretary-Tendai Biti said there was no chance of negotiations after Mr Mugabe ignored a flood of appeals to call off the election.

President Mugabe has been in power since 1980 when Zimbabwe got off the colonial grip of Britain.

Post published in: News

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