Botswana President Ian Khama has expressed doubts that Zanu PF will not stand in the way of free and fair elections.
Report By Staff Reporter
Khama, who has emerged as one of President Robert Mugabe’s most outspoken critics, told BusinessDay, a South African newspaper, that the people behind the deadly 2008 political violence in Zimbabwe were still active.
The remarks will be seen as targeted at Mugabe, whose Zanu PF party still controls security forces even after some reforms by the inclusive government.
“All I can say right now is that I hope there will be a credible election,” he told the paper on Thursday.
“The reason I say ‘hope’ is because all the people who were involved in the brutality and intimidation that took place back then are still there today.”
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai this week announced that elections were likely to be held in July. A referendum on the new constitution has been set for
Khama said he was convinced Zanu PF was likely to use violence to win the elections.
“I think that they (Mugabe supporters) are still capable of trying to engage in intimidation, deploying the security services to bring that about . . . telling the people in the security services how they should vote,” he said. “The potential for that is still there.”
He urged the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to send election monitors to Zimbabwe well before the polls.
Khama said this was necessary “so that you can monitor all the kinds of things that went wrong before the election last time and give comfort to the citizens, to be able to go about their political campaigning knowing observers are there”.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said Khama’s views must be ignored because parties in the inclusive government were happy with preparations for fresh elections.
“President Khama does not decide what happens in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“The political parties have agreed on the draft constitution, and that makes his sentiments absolutely irrelevant.”
Tsvangirai told civil society on Wednesday that Sadc would convene a special summit to ensure free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.Khama rejected Mugabe’s runoff election “victory” in 2008 and was at the forefront of calls to isolate the veteran ruler after the controversial polls.