HomeLocal NewsKhama calls for peaceful Zim polls

Khama calls for peaceful Zim polls

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Botswana President Ian Khama has urged Zimbabwe and Madagascar to emulate Zambia by holding free and fair elections.

Khama, who was one of the African leaders who rejected President Robert Mugabe’s controversial 2008 presidential run-off election, made the call on Monday during a luncheon for visiting Zambian President Michael Sata in Gaborone.

“It’s my profound wish that they can conduct elections like Zambia and Botswana and indeed others in the region,” he was quoted as saying by the Zambian Daily Mail newspaper.

“We only wish they can conduct elections like Zambia and Bostwana and indeed others in the region without the accompanying violence leading to instability.”

Sata was elected into power in September last year in one of the continent’s most peaceful political transitions where he took over from Rupiah Banda.

Zimbabwe and Madagascar are some of the Sadc region’s political hotspots.

Sadc is mediating in the dispute between Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina and his disposed predecessor Marc Ravalomana.

Khama is one of regional leaders expected to back South African President Jacob Zuma’s stance that Zimbabwe cannot hold fresh elections before necessary reforms.

Zuma was appointed to mediate in the Zimbabwe crisis following the 2008 disputed polls. Last month he visited Botswana, Angola and Namibia where he reportedly drummed up support for a tougher regional response to the Zimbabwean crisis.

Meanwhile, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair says Zimbabwe is ripe for political change.

“You can still point to situations in Africa where there’s an urgent need for change, but you know, even when I look at Zimbabwe, I am actually optimistic about its future,” Blair said in an exclusive interview with CNN.

“I think that it will have to undergo a political change of course, but I think the country is probably ready for that and it will happen in time.

“So, when I look at Africa as a whole, yes, you see there are still very much different situations and different countries, but Africa as a whole, it’s on the move.

“It’s an exciting prospect for Africans and an exciting opportunity for us I think.”

Mugabe blames Blair for his international isolation saying the previous labour government was instrumental in the formation of his toughest political opponents since independence — the Movement for Democratic Change.

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