Botswana blasts Zimbabwean over torture expert deportation

This incident stands as a reminder to one in which a Group of Eminent Persons were rebuffed, when they attempted last year to lend a hand in mediating the political crisis in that country.

Recent events in Zimbabwe wherein the MDC-T Party has disengaged from the structures of the Unity Government, all point to the act of bad faith in the implementation of the Global Peace Agreement (GPA), on the part of ZANU-PF.

Botswana holds the strong view that, there should be genuine power sharing within the Unity Government as prescribed under the GPA. A situation of domination by one party is not acceptable, and should not be tolerated.

The Ministry wishes to urge SADC through its structures to take firm measures to ensure that the Parties live up to the commitments they made under the GPA and to SADC.

Failure to honour these commitments leaves no other choice, than the calling for fresh elections under international supervision, to allow for the Zimbabweans to choose freely their leaders.

The United Nations’ torture investigator has blamed Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe for banning him from entering the country.

Manfred Nowak was forced to return to South Africa in what he described as a "serious diplomatic incident" that reflected a split in Zimbabwe’s coalition government.

"There are certainly some parts of the government who do not want me to assess the current conditions of torture," he said, adding he thought Mr Mugabe was behind the decision.

"There are strong indications that this was not just done by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs without at least the knowledge or instruction by President Mugabe," Mr Nowak said.

He had been due to meet Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, long Mugabe’s rival but now joined in a rocky coalition, at the start of a mission to investigate alleged attacks on Tsvangirai supporters by militants linked to Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party.

Mr Tsvangirai, a long-time opposition leader, joined the government with Mr Mugabe in February, but withdrew temporarily from Cabinet earlier this month after accusing ZANU-PF of human rights violations.

Mr Nowak called his treatment "alarming" evidence of the split in the southern African country’s coalition government.

He had received word from other Zimbabwean officials that he should not go there only after he had flown from Austria to South Africa en route to neighbouring Zimbabwe.

However, Mr Nowak flew to Zimbabwe on Wednesday, citing his invitation from Mr Tsvangirai. When he arrived, airport immigration officials told him the foreign ministry had not cleared his meeting with the prime minister, he said. He spent the night in the airport. "I have never been treated as rudely by any government as the government of Zimbabwe," he said.

Mr Nowak said that he contacted Mr Tsvangirai’s office from the airport, which sent a high-level delegation to fetch him but it was barred by airport security. Mr Tsvangirai’s spokesman said the trip had been cleared and that he could not immediately say why he had been barred.