Editorial Comment: Botswana’s voice on sanctions reassuring

15 Feb, 2019 - 00:02 0 Views
Editorial Comment: Botswana’s voice on sanctions reassuring President Mokgweetsi Masisi

The Herald

After assuming power in November 2017, President Mnangagwa embarked on a diplomatic offensive, targeting both friend and foe.

The cynics were, however, quick to dismiss this strategic move as a globe-trotting exercise that would drain the already ailing fiscus. Such criticism hardly came as a surprise. The leading proponents — Nelson Chamisa’s MDC and opposition media — have never used facts to back any argument.

But President Mnangagwa went further.

In February 2018, President Mnangagwa broke a decade-long record when he made a State visit to Botswana. The following month, Zimbabwe joined Botswana and Zambia in the opening of the Kazungula transnational bridge in yet another diplomatic move.

The mending of relations between Zimbabwe and Botswana bears special discussion. The breakdown in relations between Zimbabwe and Botswana was one that left a bitter taste in the mouth.

This is because Zimbabwe and Botswana are sisters whose faulty relations were affecting a larger Sadc family. It was an untidy affair which put the whole region in a precarious position.

But true to his word, President Mnangagwa re-engaged and the end result was a clean break from the past.

Presidents Mnangagwa and Seretse Khama Ian Khama last February began the process to elevate their diplomatic engagements to a Bi-National Commission. Former President Khama, who had literally become a mortal enemy — at least in the eyes of former president Robert Mugabe — to Zimbabwe’s cause, had received his counterpart with open arms.

Although President Khama would later hand over the reins to President Mokgweetsi Masisi, relations between two long-lost sisters would continue to improve.

It is against this background, as we reported yesterday, that Botswana stands with Zimbabwe in the face of a “complex” situation and has called for the removal of illegal sanctions imposed by the West.

President Masisi said this on Tuesday, upon his arrival in Gaborone from the 32nd African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

He told the media that his country was fully behind the statement issued by Sadc this week in which chairman and Namibian President Hage Geingob called for the removal of sanctions and supported Zimbabwe following weeks of onslaught by the opposition and foreign forces meant to isolate and punish the country. The relations between Zimbabwe and Botswana have thus thawed and are now progressing. Where are all the cynics today?

Not enough credit is given to President Mnangagwa. There is a tendency to judge the man based on short term problems that will soon be a thing of the past.

The sanctions imposed by the West are real, illegal and stifling development.

Through engagement with the world, President Mnangagwa has received resounding support.

The call for the removal of these illegal sanctions is getting louder.

The sanctions that were called for by the likes of Chamisa and Tendai Biti are now an embarrassment; an uncalled for measure that has received international condemnation from all progressive nations.

We urge those who imposed illegal sanctions to listen to the voice of reason — the voice of Africa.

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