BOTSWANA’s Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation minister Phandu Skelemani, has dismissed State media reports that he told his Zimbabwean counterpart, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi that they had been misled by MDC-T on the outcome of the country’s elections.
Reporting on the climbdown on its stance on Zimbabwe’s recent elections, The Sunday Mail and ZBC claimed that Botswana President Ian Khama had a closed door meeting with President Robert Mugabe, while Skelemani confided in Mumbengegwi that they had been misled by the MDC-T on the poll outcome.
Skelemani yesterday told Botswana media that reports linking him to the MDC-T were false, but confirmed meeting his Zimbabwean counterpart.
“Reports linking me to being misled by MDC-T are false,” he was quoted saying.
“I met their Foreign minister and told him that our election observer mission expressed concern about evidence of possible shortfalls including the fact that the voters’ roll was released two days before the election. His reply was that everyday voters were registering,” he was reported saying.
Skelemani said their calls for an audit were not influenced by MDC-T, insisting only an audit will prove the credibility of the polls.
“When we called for the audit of the electoral process, we were not dependent on MDC T, and there is nowhere MDC-T features in our statement calling for an audit, so how could they mislead us? That I said they misled us is lies,” he said.
The minister added that there was no turning back on the call for an audit on the just-ended Zimbabwe election. Skelemani said Khama had written to Tanzania, “whose President Jakaya Kikwete officially constituted the Sadc Election Observation Mission to Zimbabwe”.
“It is not a question of Botswana alone endorsing the Zimbabwe election results. We have accepted the results as a collective as far as Sadc is concerned,” he said.
State broadcaster, ZBC on Tuesday claimed Southern Eye had been caught lying when it reported that Botswana had not endorsed Zimbabwe’s election and had insisted on an audit.