Godfrey Olukya 27-1-2014
Botswana’s President Seretse Khama Ian Khama has broken ranks with Sadc and the rest of Africa, saying his country will not participate in future Sadc election observer missions as he claims that there were irregularities in Zimbabwe’s polls last year,The Herald has reported.
He has also gone against the African Union (AU), saying sitting heads of state should be brought before the Western-controlled International Criminal Court (ICC).
The AU last year resolved that no sitting African head of state should be taken to the court.
In an interview aired on BTV last Sunday, the Botswana leader disclosed that he was against the AU resolution.
On Zimbabwe, he announced that his country will no longer participate in any Sadc election observer missions as the regional bloc appears to have let the country “off the hook”.
Without citing specific examples, he also said he was convinced that the elections, which saw Zanu-PF gallop to a massive victory and receive congratulatory messages from such bodies as the United Nations, the AU and Sadc, among others, were neither free nor fair.
“I want to correct the word fairness… the Sadc observer statement said the elections were free and peaceful, they never used the word fair… that’s why we asked for an audit of the Zimbabwe election,” he said.
“Sadc has set itself guidelines for the conduct of free and fair elections and, therefore, it’s incumbent on all of us in Sadc to conform to those set of guidelines and if there is a breach of those guidelines then we have to say, ‘Fine, we have breached these guidelines; what now happens? What do we do about it?’
“And in Zim, we sent 80 plus or so observers and almost every one of them said there were irregularities in that election, and there were. I am convinced of it.
“So, the point was just to say that we must fix the problem because if the guidelines were violated and you create that precedent in Zimbabwe, then it means the next election, because Zimbabwe is gonna have elections again, they are likely to repeat the same irregularities. So, do we say Zimbabwe is an exception to the Sadc guidelines?”