Mugabe, 92, can't bring Zim out of its hardships, says Botswana leader

2016-09-22 13:06
Ian Khama. (File, AFP)

Ian Khama. (File, AFP)

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Gaborone – Botswana's president Ian Khama has urged Africa’s oldest ruler President Robert Mugabe to leave office, reports said.

Khama, who is set to step down as Botswana president in 2018, is one of the few African leaders who have managed over the years to stand up against dictators.

He has on several occasions, openly criticised Mugabe. 

Khama was the only African leader who stood with Western countries in 2013 following an "overwhelming" victory by Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party in elections that were dismissed by opposition parties as a "farce".

According to reports on Thursday, Khama said that Mugabe had over stayed his welcome, adding that he had led Zimbabwe into "chaos".

The Batswana leader also said that Mugabe had become a "liability" to the entire southern African region as millions of Zimbabweans continued to flock out of Zimbabwe for "greener pastures" in neighbouring countries. 

Botswana reportedly hosts at least 100 000 Zimbabweans, while its southern neighbour, South Africa, is home to around three million expatriates who are fleeing economic difficulties in their country. 

Good leadership qualities 

Khama said they were more than enough strong leaders in Zimbabwe, who could take over from Mugabe and lead the country out of its continued woes.

"They have got plenty of people there who have got good leadership qualities who could take over. It is obvious that at his age and the state Zimbabwe is in, he's not really able to provide the leadership that could get it out of its predicament," Khama was quoted saying.

Mugabe's critics welcomed Khama's remarks, saying that this should have been amongst the top agenda's of the 37th SADC summit recently held in Swaziland. 

On his official twitter account, opposition leader Tendai Biti said that he agreed with Khama's comments.  

September 21, 2016

The Movement for Democratic Change spokesperson, Obert Gutu also twitted that it would take a collective effort by the regional leaders to get rid of Mugabe. 

However, according to New Zimbabwe, the utterances by Khama ruffled some feathers in Harare, as one political commentator blasted the Botswana leader.

Godwin Murerira said that the neighbouring Khama was in no position to say that Mugabe was a regional threat as he had allowed a US military base to operate in his country.

He said Khama was a bitter man who had unsuccessfully fought on opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s corner for years.

"He is the only one who has been saying elections are not free and fair even when SADC and Africa said they were fair. He prefers his friend Tsvangirai. Unfortunately, they have constantly lost. Therefore he has become bitter at personnel level but not that it’s the position of the Botswana people,“ Murerira was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, social media went abuzz on Thursday as Mugabe’s supporters and his critics took each other on over khama’s comments.  

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  tendai biti  |  obert gutu  |  ian khama  |  morgan tsvangirai  |  botswana  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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