Former President of Botswana, Ian Khama, has condemned Zimabwe’s Zanu PF-led regime in a voice recording broadcasted by eNCA. Khama, known for being outspoken, has critiqued Zimbabwe’s violent treatment of journalists and civilians. He voiced out concerns about alleged recent human rights violations which Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa continues to deny. The voice recording follows after southern African states’ representatives hosted a webinar to critically discuss political affairs in the region.
Khama is the first African political leader to publicly denounce the crisis in Zimbabwe. He has called Zimbabwe’s government a poor performance wherein only the name of the country has changed, but the oppression still remains.
“In plain English, there is a crisis in Zimbabwe, not just challenges with extreme difficulties all man-made and growing in intensity and long lasting,” Khama scathingly stated.
Zimbabwe came under international scrutiny earlier in the year after the arrest of political journalist Hopewell Chin’ono which sparked countrywide protest demonstrations. The demonstrations included the arrests of opposition party leader Jacob Ngarivhume and famous Zimbabwean author Tsitsi Dangarembga. The arrests fueled #ZimbabweanLivesMatter on Twitter and calls for the African Union to intervene soon trended but there was no official response. However, South Africa sent a presidential envoy which only met with Mnangagwa leaving out opposition party members and civil organisations.
“A leader has one responsibility and one only, and that is to mobilise, motivate programmes and policies in the best interests of citizens not in their self-interest. People’s lives matter, Zimbabweans lives matter.” Khama went on to state.
Hopewell Chin’ono and Jacob Ngarivhume were released in the beginning of September. Regional bodies, African Union and SADC have supported Mnangagwa’s continued denial of the crisis. There has been no further intervention in Zimbabwe other than South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plan to send another envoy.
Listen to the full clip on YouTube.
Ian Khama: Zimbabwean lives matter