Botswana expresses dismay at farm invasions

The minister said yesterday that at the just ended SADC Summit in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), they were told that Zimbabwean leaders are working well together.

He said that in his address, South African President and outgoing SADC chairman, Jacob Zuma said that he met Zimbabwean leaders and they all told him they were happy with the developments in their country.

Skelemani said that among the issues that the Zimbabwean leaders are working well on is the appointment of provincial governors. He said President Robert Mugabe has agreed to ensure that people proposed by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are appointed to the provincial posts.

Mugabe is the appointing authority and there have been complaints that he was favouring his ZANU people. After reading his report, Zuma is said to have implored SADC members to help Zimbabwe get aid from Western countries. Skelemani said Botswana approached representatives of some Western countries to ask them why they were not extending foreign aid to Zimbabwe.

"However, these people told us they are concerned by invasions in farms, where white owners are attacked. They also expressed concern over the fact that despite the Global Partnership Agreement (GPA),  which stipulated well that the leaders would share power, the same governors, Attorney-General and ambassadors appointed by Mugabe are still holding the positions.

They complained that people, especially those associated with the MDC continue to be incarcerated by the government," he said.

Tsvangirai was not at the summit. Skelemani said that Mugabe told the summit that it is true they are experiencing problems in the power-sharing deal but they are slowly working out solutions.

Mugabe explained that the dispute over high profile appointments is being addressed. He said they have agreed that his political partners, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara should propose names of people to be appointed to top posts.

He said it is difficult to completely effect change at once as the people holding positions are working on contracts and therefore cannot just be removed. "He told us that at the moment, five posts are available (after the contracts expired) and would be filled by nominees from Tsvangirai and Mutambara’s camps," Skelemani said.

SADC has proposed Bingu wa Mutharika to succeed Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi as chairman of the African Union. Malawi is expected to take over the AU leadership in February next year. After Libya, the rotating chairmanship of the AU is due to be occupied by a southern African country. Mmeg  Online