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Botswana hits back

Dumisani Muleya

BOTSWANA has slammed “malicious reporting” and “hostile propaganda” by “sections of the media” in Zimbabwe.

The country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said it was worrying that some media w

ere fuelling misguided xenophobia and hawking fiction about relations between Tswanas and Zimbabweans.

“Botswana has noted with growing concern the appearance in sections of the Zimbabwe media of unbalanced, distorted, and on occasion, even openly hostile reports directed against the government and the people of Botswana,” it said.

“The recent appearance of an editorial comment in the Bulawayo Chronicle newspaper entitled ‘Time to act against Botswana’ is but an extreme example of what can only be described as a pattern of misguided and xenophobic attacks on the good name of this country and its people.”

The ministry said the media concerned were “deriving facts from fairy tales and publishing them as such”. It said that could only be interpreted as a “deliberate and systematic attempt to fuel hatred and xenophobia between our peoples and to sour the warm and cordial relations that the governments of Botswana and Zimbabwe continue to enjoy”.

Botswana’s relations with Zimbabwe, the ministry noted, are not guided by “any extra-territorial power nor is she in cahoots with any foreign government or power to cause the demise of the government of Zimbabwe”.

Botswana, however, like Zimbabwe is free to choose her friends within and outside the continent, it said.

“The close and cordial relations that she enjoys with both the United Kingdom and the United States of America does not in any way imply hostility towards the government of Zimbabwe and should not be interpreted as such.”

The Foreign Affairs ministry acknowledged that whilst Botswana and Zimbabwe enjoyed good relations, there were, however, a few problems that still remain and which have been the subject of discussions at numerous official meetings.

“The issue of illegal Zimbabwean immigrants is one such issue,” it said.

The Zimbabwe delegation had raised the issue of corporal punishment at an inter-governmental meeting in Kasane, the ministry said.

“It was duly explained to the delegation that corporal punishment was provided for in the laws of Botswana and that it was not designed specifically for Zimbabweans.”

It said the issue of the alleged hosting of the Voice of America’s Studio 7 and other issues have also been discussed officially. The radio station was not hosted by Botswana, it said.

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