THE government of the Republic of Botswana notes with deep concern recent developments in the Republic of Zimbabwe that led to the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, announcing his withdrawal from the June 27 Presidential run-off election on grounds that conditions in that country are not conducive to the holding of a free and fair election.
The government of Botswana recently expressed its concern and condemnation of acts of lawlessness, violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe and called upon the government of Zimbabwe to assume primary responsibility in maintaining a climate of peace, safety and security in the run-up to and during the election. Botswana regrets that despite repeated appeals conditions for a free and fair election have been compromised.
Failure to arrest and reverse the current situation of tension can only lead to Zimbabwe sliding further into deep economic and political crisis.
Zimbabwe is therefore at the crossroads as to what direction it should take and the expressed sovereign will of the people through a free and fair election under conditions of peace and security is crucial in setting the country on a path of national reconciliation and economic recovery. Botswana is convinced that even at this late hour concerted efforts should be made to find a lasting solution.
Botswana as a member of Sadc contributed about 50 observers to the election process in Zimbabwe. We will await a report from the Sadc election observer mission and other independent observers before we can pronounce the position of the government of the Republic of Botswana with regard to the recognition and legitimacy of any Presidential candidate and subsequently the government of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
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