The Botswana Civil Society Solidarity Coalition on Zimbabwe (BOCISCOZ) has pleaded with President Ian Khama's administration to make sure that the presidential run-off of 27th June 2008 is free and fair.
The organisation made its pleas yesterday when submitting a petition to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC), Phandu Skelemani, at the parliament buildings.
The recommendations in the petition received by Skelemani were drawn from a seminar held the same day which was called 'Zimbabwe Focus' where representatives from the Anglican Diocese of Harare, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CZO) and Regional Economic Consequences of Zimbabwe and the Role of Labour (RECZRL) made statements.
The petition, which has five initiatives, BOCISCOZ wants Botswana to pursue the crisis across the northern border. These includes ensuring that the Southern African Development Community (SADC), working together with African Union (AU) guarantees the safety, security and credibility of the electoral process through active and effective monitoring and observation of the Presidential run-off that day. "We want also the government of Botswana to act in conformity with Article 4 of the Constitution Act of the African Union (AU) which relates to the responsibility to protect," reads the petition adding that where a government does not protect its citizens, the AU can act to ensure protection as "we believe that crimes against humanity are currently being committed in Zimbabwe".
The NGO further wants Botswana to use its moral leadership to call for the immediate cessation of all forms of politically motivated violence in Zimbabwe. "Continue to encourage the spirit of 'botho' amongst Batswana. Xenophobia is totally unacceptable in a functioning democracy," the organisation urges.
Ensuring that the SADC mediation process, which has lost credibility be transformed for the benefit of the people of Zimbabwe is another area the coalition wants Botswana to intervene.
On this issue of mediation by SADC, BOCICOZ said there must be free and fair elections, immediate release of the elections results following the elections to avoid the "electoral impasse, which ensued following the harmonised elections of March 2008."
"The peaceful realisation of the will of the people as expressed through the election results must also be there," said the petition, which was read by Ditshwanelo's director, Alice Mogwe.Skelemani, who was accompanied by member of the Ntlo ya Dikgosi, Kgosi Letlaamoreng, Clerk of the National Assembly, Ernest Mpofu and other senior government officials promised to pass the petition to President Ian Khama.