Harare – Ian Khama’s call for President Robert Mugabe to step down hasn’t gone down too well with the Zimbabwe government: the Botswana president should just “go hang” Mugabe’s former spin-doctor says.
Or he should concentrate on Botswana’s desert, Jonathan Moyo says witheringly in an article for a private weekly in Zimbabwe.
Khama’s call on his ageing neighbour to step down after 36 years in power was greeted thankfully by many Zimbabweans on social media, where the current wave of protests against the 92-year-old leader started five months ago.
“They [Zimbabweans] have got plenty of good people there who have got good leadership qualities who could take over,” Khama was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
The pro-Mugabe Herald said in an editorial on Friday that it hoped Khama had been “misquoted”.
Jonathan Moyo, who is now higher education minister, went much further, calling Khama “an overgrown delinquent juvenile” in an opinion editorial in the Zimbabwe Independent.
“Let Khama mind the desert that is Botswana’s business while we mind our own challenges,” Moyo said.
This is not the first time Khama has called out Mugabe: the two have had strained relations for years. But among SADC leaders, the Botswana leader and the late Zambian leader Levy Mwanawasa have been in the last few years the only loud critics of their Zimbabwean counterpart.
Piers Pigou of the International Crisis Group tweeted Friday: “Mugabe should have gone years ago! Khama likely to remain a lone voice on this issue.”