In a state of the nation address after his re-election last month, Botswana’s leader Ian Khama made clear he believed the blame for the political paralysis in neighbouring Zimbabwe lay at the hands of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party.
"I must here however express concern at the continued failure of ZANU-PF in that country to fully honour the spirit of the power-sharing agreement," Khama told parliament in Botswana’s capital, Gaborone.
"In the absence of genuine partnership, it would be better for all parties to go back to the people, for they are the ultimate authority to determine who should form the government of Zimbabwe," he said.
Khama is the African leader most critical of Mugabe and raised hackles in Harare a year ago by saying new elections were the only way to break the stalemate threatening Zimbabwe’s power-sharing agreement.
Mugabe’s government called that comment an "act of extreme provocation".
Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change formed a unity government last year, but the power-sharing deal, underwritten by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), has not been fully implemented.
A SADC meeting in Mozambique on Nov 5 gave Mugabe and Tsvangirai 15 days to resolve the issues threatening to derail the deal.