Leader of Opposition, Dumelang Saleshando has urged all civil society organisations in Botswana to rise and mobilise in solidarity with people of Zimbabwe by putting pressure on ZANU PF and its President Emmerson Mnangagwa to immediately cease and desist from terrorising the people and releasing all those in detention.
When addressing parliament yesterday, Saleshando called on unions, clergy, student formations and other pro democracy NGOs to come up with ways to pile up pressure on the ZANU PF regime.
“To our civil society and NGOs, we say silence and inaction is not the answer, today it is Zimbabwe, tomorrow it could be Botswana and would it be proper for others to shrug their shoulders and say it is a Botswana problem and has nothing to do with us?, he wondered.
Saleshando said that it is their belief that the Botswana Central Committee will also seize itself with the crisis and have a stern word with its clear friend, Zanu PF. “Our conscience and principles do not permit us, the opposition in Botswana to remain silent in circumstances where the Zimbabwe state has embarked on a brutal and savage crackdown of its long suffering citizens.”
The Member of Parliament for Maun West added that since the pro- democracy and anti corruption organisations in that country resolved to mobilise the citizenry to take part in peaceful protests that were scheduled for 31st July, the state seems to have lost its sanity and all sense of international shame.
“Instead of granting audience and finding solutions to the plight of a people bearing the brunt of a collapsed economy, lack of liquidity, rampant unemployment, unbridled corruption and shortage of goods and services including basic foods and medicines in this terrible time of COVID 19, the default reaction of ZANU PF has been to turn to state sponsored violence against its own citizens.”
He noted that the consequences of ZANU PF repression, misrule, and poor governance have spilled across the border into Botswana in the form of political and economic refugees.
He said that given Botswana’s small economy and limited range of social and public services barely enough to sustain citizens, the country has been forced to cushion the costs of ZANU PF excess and refusal to treat the citizens of Zimbabwe as principal stakeholders of their own country.
“It is against this background that we say enough is enough. We know ZANU PF well enough to predict that the ongoing crackdown is being done with an eye on the 2023 general elections whose run up will see an escalation in state repression, with Botswana and other neighbours again having to shoulder the burden.”
He further explained that the situation in Zimbabwe can no longer be dismissed as Zimbabwe’s abnormal state of affairs as their usual normal.
He then called for extraordinary summit of SADC to address the crisis in Zimbabwe.