Tuesday, December 16, 2008

We are not training an MDC army -- Botswana

Zimbabwe's Army, under-equiped, fears that an MDC army will topple Mugabe with relative ease

Botswana has rejected claims by Zimbabwe it is involved in a plot to oust Robert Mugabe. Zimbabwe's justice minister had told state media they have "compelling evidence" Botswana was hosting military training camps for opposition rebels.

He said Botswana was helping recruit youths to destabilise and bring about illegal regime change in Zimbabwe.

But Botswana said it was "nothing more than distorted or concocted evidence, none of which is supported by facts".

A statement from Botswana's ministry of foreign affairs said: "Zimbabwe has signally failed to produce any tangible, much less compelling, facts in support of its allegations."

The ministry said it had already rejected Zimbabwe's claim "in the strongest possible terms" in a response to the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), which says it is investigating the allegations.

Sadc secretary general Tomaz Salamao confirmed earlier his organisation was analysing documents and videos submitted to them by the Zimbabwean authorities. Observers say it is the first time that such openly hostile relations have emerged among any of the 15 Sadc members.

Botswana's President Ian Khama is one of the few African leaders to have publicly criticised Mr Mugabe.

Military inteligence sources told the Tribune that an MDC Army, equiped by western nations, would easily topple the upopular ZANU-PF govternment. In recent years, the ZNA has suffered from lack of funding to insuffiecient manpower.

ZANU-PF sources also claimed that some of the people training in the Bostwana MDC camps included people that had deserted from the Zimbabwe National Army. The Batswana authorities have arrested scores of CIO agents working in their country.

Meanwhile, the UN security council met Monday to discuss the Zimbabwe crisis.

“We continue to witness a failure of the leadership in Zimbabwe to address the political, economic, human rights and humanitarian crisis that is confronting the country and do what is best for the people,” Ban said at a UN Security Council meeting attended by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

But nothing is expected from the UN as South Africa, backed by Russia and the Chinese have pledged to block any action the UN might try to take.

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