South Africa, Zambia back him, Botswana wants him out now!
By Nsikan Ikpe
The current state of turmoil in Zimbabwe has split Southern African leaders into two camps, The Difference checks have revealed.
And in a manner reminiscent of the state of affairs in the continent in the decade of independence and unification in the 1960s when the divisions then were between conservatives and radicals in the Monrovia and Casablanca blocs, ideological temper is a major factor at play even in the current scenario.
On one hand is a conservative lobby that includes Edgar Lungu of Zambia and South African President Jacob Zuma, and which is stridently supporting embattled Zimbabwean dictator, Robert Mugabe.
At the immediate past meeting of the regional bloc held in Botswana, Lungu and Zuma, through their ministers of foreign affairs, had unsuccessfully tried to influence other countries in the Southern African Development Community, SADC to condemn the action of the Zimbabwean military.
They were however to meet very stiff and firm resistance when the host President, Seretse Ian Khama – who had in the past also broken ranks and openly chided Mugabe for staying on in power endlessly – demanded the immediate departure of Mugabe.
A follow up meeting is now to hold in Angola on Tuesday but it is unclear on what side of the divide, President Joao Lourenco, who has just replaced the long-standing ruler, Eduardo dos Santos, would be swinging.
Other countries expected to participate at the Angola parley are Mozambique, Malawi, Swaziland, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Mauritius, Seychelles, Lesotho, Madagascar and Namibia.
Analysts say that the SADC division is likely to be one of the strong planks that the seriously embattled Mugabe is banking on as he continues to resist calls to resign. This is more so when similar divisions have since emerged at the level of the broader African Union, AU which has itself very tactfully stated it would only follow SADC’s lead.
President Ian Khama of Botswana