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Botswana President Masisi Says West Should Remove Sanctions Imposed on Zanu PF Officials

President Mokgweetsi Masisi and President Emmerson Mnangagwa
President Mokgweetsi Masisi and President Emmerson Mnangagwa

WASHINGTON DC- President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana has called for the removal of sanctions imposed by the West on Zanu PF officials for alleged human rights violations and electoral fraud.

Masisi made the call Thursday when he arrived in Zimbabwe for the official opening of this year’s edition of the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show.

Masisi told reporters at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport that the targeted sanctions are hurting Zimbabweans.

“President Mangagwa and I have a very strong friendship, you must know it and you must see it. We just came from our elective congress and ZANU PF was well-represented. We belong to the same revolutionary Southern African movement and that’s why we call for the removal of sanctions as Zimbabwe’s sanctions are Botswana’s sanctions. These sanctions must go.”

Masisi expressed the same sentiments when he officially opened the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show.

Zimbabwe and Botswana have very strong relationships in areas of Agriculture, and I feel honored to be invited to officiate at this event which strengthens our relationship as neighbors and friends. On that high not. I declare the Harare Agricultural Show Open.”

Responding to Masisi’s remarks, President Emmerson Mnangagwa also expressed happiness about the Botswana president’s visit.

I thank you Zimbabwe people for coming in numbers to welcome our dear friend and comrade and his wife for coming to visit us today. To you President Masisi, all these people gathered here today are ZANU PF members mostly from Harare, they heard you were coming, and they chose to come in numbers to welcome you because of the good relationship between the two countries. You are welcome to Zimbabwe.”

In 2018, Botswana and Zimbabwe signed bilaterial agreements to promote and explore cooperation in several fields such as education, agriculture, defense and security, energy, environment, and health.

John Depowe, Botswana’s presidential spokesperson said Zimbabwe and Botswana have deep relations and therefore it important for the two nations to strengthen their ties.

We have very strong bilateral ties with Zimbabwe. Historically the people of Zimbabwe and the people of Botswana have always interacted at different levels, for example we have signed many cooperation agreements. We produce a lot of cattle vaccines among other things which Zimbabwe takes up and we buy a lot of crop products from Zimbabwe and the two countries can learn a lot from each other.”

Professor Ricky Mukonza, a political science lecturer at Tswane University, says it is not surprising that President Masisi and President Mnangagwa have close relations as they both disliked their predecessors – former President Ian Khama and the late former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

The visit by President Masisi to Zimbabwe and pledging his support is a sign of improved relations between the two countries which is very different from what we used to see during President Khama’s time.”

Masimba Mavaza, a Mnangagwa loyalist and ZANU PF defender based in London, UK, shares the same sentiments.

“Zimbabwe and Botswana share a very strong bilateral diplomatic relationship, frosty in the past especially in the Ian Khama era but the 1983 agreement of cooperation is now being cemented by the two countries.”

Fadzayi Mahere, opposition Citizens Coalition for Change caretaker spokesperson, says there is need for Zimbabwe to have good relations with other nations, including Botswana.

“We have consistently said sanctions are not good for any nation and as a government in waiting, we s the CCC, have a plan to take Zimbabwe out of international Isolation by building bridges with any nation where it is mutually beneficial. We choose to have conversation or dialogue versus resorting to insults in spirit of reengagement.”

Masisi toured the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show accompanied by President Mnangagwa during his 3-day state visit. The show was established in 1895 to promote agriculture and its supporting activities, to facilitate agricultural development in Zimbabwe. On average, over 200,000 people attend the rebranded Zimbabwe Agricultural Show, formerly Harare Agricultural Show, annually.