Botswana urges end to Zimbabwe sanctions

Botswana was one of the most outspoken critics of abuses by Mugabe’s government and the failed 2008 presidential elections, but after talks with South African President Jacob Zuma, Khama said progress has been made.

“As easily as they can be imposed, sanctions can be removed, and I believe this should be done as a demonstration of goodwill with Zimbabwe,” he told reporters.

“The Zimbabwe graph has shown some upward movement economically and politically,” he said. “To help that process we need to demonstrate good faith and remove the sanctions.”

Mugabe, 86, and his inner circle are subject to travel bans and asset freezes in the European Union and the United States, which accuse his government of human rights abuses and denials of basic freedoms.

After the failed elections in 2008, Botswana asked the African Union not to recognise Mugabe as Zimbabwe’s president. Khama had supported punitive measures against Mugabe, accusing him of stealing elections and perpetrating human rights violations.

Botswana’s stance strained relations with its neighbour. Harare had accused Gaborone of harbouring opposition military training camps to overthrow Mugabe.

Zuma also reiterated his call for the sanctions to be lifted.

“Sanctions should be lifted because they are not helping Zimbabwe. They are complicating matters,” Zuma said. AFP