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From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Mon, 30 Dec 2002 20:21:37 -0800

December 23, 2002

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Anti-Zimbabwe Sentiments Mount In Botswana

Reports of harassment of Zimbabwean nationals visiting or living in 
Botswana by law enforcement agents and ordinary people continue to mount, 
with fresh allegations that law enforcers often raid and beat legal 
immigrants from that country. Most Zimbabweans in Botswana work as 
housemaids, garden boys, farm workers and vendors. Lately, Batswana have 
started accusing Zimbabweans of all conceivable evil from stealing to 
allegedly spreading HIV/AIDS.

By Kholwani Nyathi

Zimbabweans in Botswana, most of them economic refugees forced to flee that 
country's dire economic and food crisis, have in the past expressed concern 
over "hostility" of the local police with some claiming to have been 
tortured by the law enforcement agents.

"Some police officers have told us in our face that they don't like 
Zimbabweans. These days having a valid passport does not make a difference 
to them as we are an undesirable elements," said Dumisani Mthombeni, a 
Zimbabwean working for a local mining company who said he has been 
ill-treated by local police several times. "But we are only trying to make 
a decent living".

In November this year, the Chronicle, a Zimbabwean daily newspaper, almost 
sparked a diplomatic row between the two countries when it carried a 
gruesome picture of a Zimbabwean who was allegedly tortured by Botswana 
police. The paper claimed the harassments were now the order of the day as 
Botswana tried to control the influx of Zimbabweans.

Media in the two countries have given much attention to the alleged inhuman 
treatment of their respective citizens by the other nationals.

The issue is also said to have featured prominently in the recently 
abandoned African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)/ European Union (EU) 
assembly meeting in Brussels. The leader of the Botswana delegation, 
parliamentarian  Ms Shirley Segokgo is said to have implored the ACP to 
address the problems facing Zimbabwe to stem the influx of its nationals 
into her country.

This is said to have drawn an angry response from her Zimbabwean 
counterpart, Minister Paul Mangwana  who threatened to expel all Batswana 
from his country in retaliation for the ill treatment of Zimbabwean 
nationals in Botswana.	The exchanges were given widespread publicity by 
media in both countries.

On December 11, the Midweek Sun in Botswana reported fresh allegations of 
harassment of Zimbabweans at the hands of the Botswana Police. It reported 
that 60 legal Zimbabwean visitors in Francistown claimed that they were 
raided and assaulted by police for no apparent reason. Police confirmed the 
arrest of Zimbabwean nationals but refuted allegations that they were 

"These innocent people were harassed for no apparent reason they had valid 
travel documents. Some of them were genuine visitors but police did not 
care. To make matters worse, they were laughing their lungs out as if what 
they were doing was funny," Mark Murwira, a Motswana who witnessed the 
raids told the paper.

Rosinikai Tshamba, a Zimbabwean who was caught up in the raid said: "What 
have we really done to Botswana for us to deserve such a cruel treatment. 
We try by all means to carry our valid passports".

Francistown police promised to investigate the matter but it will have to 
be added into a long-list of such complaints waiting for their attention. 
The Francistown incident is only but one of the examples of escalating 
hostilities between the national of the two countries.

Government statistics released early this year indicated that there were 
13,000 Zimbabwean expatriates working in Botswana but more than double that 
number live in this country illegally.

The government of Botswana says it spends thousands of Pula repatriating 
Zimbabwean illegal immigrants who flock into the country in search of 
greener pastures.

Most Zimbabweans in Botswana work as housemaids, garden boys, farm workers 
and vendors. Lately, Batswana have started accusing Zimbabweans of all 
conceivable evil from stealing to allegedly spreading HIV/AIDS. Batswana 
claim that desperate Zimbabwean women are fuelling prostitution in the

In November, a local paper reported that a Selebi Phikwe resident, a town 
400 km north east of Gaborone, had put a large banner on his gate which 
read "No Zimbabweans allowed in this yard".

Such brazen hate statements have not been limited to the ordinary people 
alone; politicians have also found the subject irresistible in their 
attempts to whip up emotions.

The issue of Zimbabweans in Botswana has also featured prominently in 
Botswana's National Assembly, with a number of parliamentarians accusing 
their northern neighbours of taking away jobs at the expense of Batswana.

"But Zimbabweans do not treat Batswana the way they are treating us here. 
Its time we retaliated. Our government should make it equally difficult for 
Batswana to travel to Zimbabwe," Brian Choto, a member of the Zimbabwean 
Citizens in Botswana Association, a pressure group formed early this year 
to advance the interests of Zimbabweans living in this country.

Hundreds of Batswana students study in neighbouring Zimbabwe, which despite 
its economic problems still boasts of an affordable and efficient education 
system. Shoppers from Botswana, who are taking advantage of the sliding 
Zimbabwean dollar, are also flocking to that country in thousands. They buy 
Z$250 for one Pula in Zimbabwe's thriving black market.

Recent press reports also link the recent recalling of Zimbabwean 
ambassador to Botswana, Mr Zenzo Nsimbi to the issue of harassment of that 
country's nationals.

Before he was recalled, Mr Nsimbi told Botswana media that his embassy was 
not going to investigate the alleged harassment of his fellow nationals by 
local police because some of them were not genuine. He was immediately 

The Botswana Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Mompathi Merafhe praised 
Nsimbi for handling the issue with "maturity", which he said, was going to 
help maintain good relations between the two neighbours.

Mr Chapson Butale, a member of parliament from the ruling Botswana 
Democratic Party (BDP), caused a storm in parliament recently when he 
accused the government of failing to deal with Zimbabweans claiming that 
they were harassing Batswana in that country.

But Batswana student representative associations in Zimbabwe promptly 
dismissed his claims saying no Motswana has been harassed in that country. 
Botswana shares a common northern border with Zimbabwe. The two countries 
still enjoy good diplomatic relations and its nationals travel freely, 
without any visa requirements.

Moi's Succession Plans Jolted By Wave Of Change

He prefers to call it retirement, but is it no	the Constitution that 
disqualifies Kenya's long-serving President Daniel arap Moi from seeking 
another tenure of office? He is nonetheless relentlessly campaigning for 
his chosen heir, the 42-year-old son of his predecessor and benevolent 
despot Mzee Jomo Kenyatta whose tenure was only interrupted by death in 
1978. But the mood for change has given the foremost opposition candidate 
leads in at least two national opinion polls.

By Noel Okoth

If current political developments were any guide, then Moi's 24-year reign 
and influence would come to an end on December 27, the polling date for 
Kenya's third multi-party elections. But he has been at the helm for far 
too long that ordinary folks are skeptical about change.

The last two multi-party elections, in 1992 and 1997, ended with easy 
victories for Moi and his party, KANU, which has ruled the East African 
country since the attainment of self-government from colonial Britain 
nearly 40 years ago.

But that was because major opposition groups, individually unable to match 
KANU's challenge, had no common strategy.

By last summer, Moi seemed destined to lead KANU for another harvest third 
time around until an internal revolt instigated by Raila Odinga, the 
populist oppositionist who led his party to an unprecedented merger with 
KANU in March, disrupted the usual consensus that would have assured Uhuru 
Kenyatta of the top post.

By October, Moi's party had lost several party stalwarts including the Vice 
President and several members of the Cabinet to the newly found National 
Rainbow Coalition that included Mwai Kibaki, the experienced leader of 
Opposition in Parliament and, presently, frontrunner in the presidential 
pre-election opinion polls.

Some two weeks ago, Kibaki was seriously injured near the capital, Nairobi, 
upon returning from a gruelling campaign tour upcountry. He was taken for 
specialized treatment abroad but his return, on December 14, re-emphasized 
the sweeping yearn for change as evidenced by the massive reception and 
thereafter the biggest solidarity rally ever.

Moi is undaunted but his recent trip to the United States to discuss with 
President Bush regional security issues even before investigations in his 
own backyard on the latest terrorist attack had bore fruit is, according to 
observers, an indication of his resignation.

Critics capitalized on this ill-timed sojourn to claim that the 80-year-old 
leader had gone for a dressing down by Bush over his "undemocratic ways".

They were vindicated by the subsequent announcement by the local US embassy 
that the American leader may visit Kenya in January, just days after a 
successor had been installed.

Indeed, during Kenya's Independence Day celebrations on December 12, Moi 
sought forgiveness from his critics saying he had forgiven them.

Uncharacteristically, however, he resisted the temptation to grab the 
strategic opportunity to parade his chosen heir, a relative newcomer but 
warm operator who has been dogged by questions of credibility.

KANU's headquarters, the imposing skyscraper in central Nairobi whose 
ownership is in dispute, now lacks the excitement of the past and some 
party staff are reported to have responded to the lucrative engagement 
offers by some of the party's free-spending candidates.

Kibaki may have served in the last two repressive regimes but has managed 
to emerge, mainly because of his middle of the road politics and rejection 
of graft, as the symbol for change.

There may be some truth in statements by critics that the ruling party 
lacks the structure to hold as an opposition entity, which it may become in 
a few days. The party's structures had formed a web of alliances with the 
government's administrative machinery.

National Rainbow Coalition, the biggest opposition challenge led by Kibaki, 
also displayed some glaring administrative weaknesses in the party 
nomination process three weeks ago. Still, they trooped remarkably well in 
spite of the challenges of fighting incumbency.

The arrival of the international election observer groups in the past week 
has met with accusations and counter accusations about the general conduct 
of some candidates and alleged schemes to influence the results.

Of course, all parties deny complicity in planning to violate electoral 
rules for a favourable result. The scenario exploded especially with the 
arrival last week of the Commonwealth Observer group lead by Prof Adebayo 
Adedeji who maintains that they will "not offer any running commentary" but 
only issue their verdict after the polls.

"At every stage we will act with neutrality, impartiality, objectivity and 
independenceand of course all our activities will be undertaken in the 
context of the laws of Kenya," Adedeji, the leader of a 15-member group, 
declared soon after arrival last week.

But the opposition groups are neither happy with some transition 
formalities including the swearing in of the new leader. They maintain that 
their representatives ought to be included in the committee overseeing the 
swearing in which includes the Attorney General, the Chief Justice and the 
Chief Secretary.

The three officials responsible for organizing the swearing in of Moi's 
successor and generally oversee the formalities of handing over are all his 

For this the Opposition has cried foul and the architect of their current 
united challenge, Odinga, has already called for what he terms a 
million-man march to State House "should elections be rigged".

There are three other Opposition contenders for the presidency but the 
widespread acceptance of Kibaki has diminished their participation.

Kibaki may have served in the last two repressive regimes but has managed 
to emerge, mainly because of his middle of the road politics and rejection 
of graft, as the symbol for change.

Other would-be contenders for the top seat in the coalition mainly endorsed 
his candidacy because of the above and also because such qualities are 
acceptable to Kenya's powerful friends whose assistance would be required 
as a matter of urgency to help reconstruct an economy that has lately been 
recording minus growth rate.

That Kibaki and co have undertaken to pursue the stalled constitutional 
review process upon assuming office has created excitement particularly 
among the middle class voters who had become wary of executive presidency.

The review team, initiated by Moi and interrupted by Moi, had recommended a 
change in the structure of the government, among others.

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