- Says Khama is a foreigner and cannot participate in a national dialogue
- Gov’t spokesperson says Khama told them that Chamisa wants him to mediate
- Blasts Chamisa for avoiding Masisi to speak to Khama
TEFO PHEAGE AND LETLHOGILE MPUANG
The government of Zimbabwe says former president Ian Khama and Zimbabwean opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa should know that Khama cannot and will not mediate over the Zimbabwean national dialogue meant to restore peace and harmony in the country as Khama is a foreigner and not a Zimbabwean national.
George Charamba, Zimbabwe’s presidential spokesperson revealed in an interview with this publication that they are aware of Khama and Chamisa’s meeting held in Botswana and the contents of that meeting.
“Our Foreign Affairs Minister met with Khama in his trip to Victoria Falls recently where we had extended diplomatic courtesy to him as a former president. In that meeting Khama told our Foreign Affairs Minister that Chamisa wants him to mediate in the Zimbabwean national dialogue,” Charamba said.
He said Khama told them that he had advised Chamisa to help the cause and get over his loss to the ruling party, a move which will also allow him to introspect and prepare for the next national elections in Zimbabwe.
Mnangagwa has opened the avenue for dialogue with other political parties in Zimbabwe to ensure that they also have an input in the country’s governance discourse. Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has however not been part of the national dialogue process that kicked off in February protesting that a ‘‘genuine dialogue under a credible convener and mediator is needed to solve Zimbabwe’s crisis.”
Khama who schooled at Whitestone Primary School in Bulawayo’s Burnside suburb is said to be interested in lending a helping hand in the national dialogue to enrich his curriculum vitae in Zimbabwe. He is yet to play a noticeable role in external mediation as a former president and does not believe in the work of regional peace-building organizations like the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African Union which he has labeled as ‘mere talk shows’.
Although he benefited from Khama’s no-holds-barred punches to Mugabe, Mnangagwa, a long time ally of Mugabe, pundits say was not pleased by Khama’s conduct towards his political godfather-Mugabe when the rest of the leaders were quiet and enjoying the Zimbabwean scene. “As a crop of the past, he definitely considers Khama a political lightweight with no struggle credentials,” revealed a highly placed Zimbabwean political commentator. Mnangagwa was nicknamed the Crocodile initially for founding the Zimbabwean African National Liberation Army-a guerrilla group known as the “Crocodile Gang”.
Chamisa said he was in a long meeting and could not grant this publication an interview while Khama said he could only meet this publication on Tuesday(-today) to share his comment.
Khama and Chamisa met last month at Khama’s residence where they dissected the matter. Chamisa is understood to be of the view that Khama’s firm grip and past successes on the past political authority earns him the right to mediate over the current impasse. There was still hope that if a neutral and acceptable convener was appointed, Chamisa and those that were boycotting would be persuaded to participate.
However the Zimbabwean government still seems to be nursing Khama’s inflicted scars and political injuries launched and endured during former president Robert Mugabe’s era. Khama they say, should stay away from the Zimbabwean national dialogue and warned Chamisa to respect the process.
Charamba says “the MDC leader should see the light and join those who are already in talks because no solution will be found outside the country.”
Political parties that participated in the 2018 July elections, he said appointed Chairman of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) Justice Selo Nare and Chairperson of the Gender Commission, Margaret Sangarwe Mkahanana as co-chairpersons of the National Dialogue.
The 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa — who was beaten on a razor-thin margin by Zanu PF Mnangagwa is said to be taking none of it, a development that has stalled the talks as he is key to the discussions through the number of constituents that he represents.
Botswana hosts thousands of Zimbabweans and usually receives multitudes during political unrests hence Botswana’s interests in the Zimbabwean politics and worry about the crisis impact on Botswana’s fiscus.
Former president, Festus Mogae has in the past expressed worry about a lot of money that was used to deport illegal immigrants from Botswana to Zimbabwe.
Mogae had previously said that Botswana uses millions of pula to deport and feed the Zimbabweans while they are being kept at various detention centers awaiting deportation. In 2015, the immigration department said that about 28,653 illegal immigrants were repatriated to Zimbabwe at the cost of P452,732.30.