President Robert Mugabe has left for Lesotho where he will attend the country’s 50th independence celebrations. Last week he snubbed a similar invite from Botswana’s President, Ian Khama after Khama told an international news agency, Reuters, that it was time the 92-year-old Zimbabwean leader steps down due to old age.
NewsDay reported that a State media columnist, believed to be Mugabe’s spokesperson, George Charamba, at the weekend wrote that Mugabe would use his Lesotho trip this week as a way to hit back at Khama.
Nathaniel Manheru wrote,
President Mugabe has been invited (to Lesotho’s celebrations) and from what I understand, he is likely to honour the invitation. Just by so doing, President Mugabe will finally vividly make his point, relish his day through a damning comparison. He will be able to quietly chastise Khama, while showing the Batswana people how much of a huge cost their leader’s blunderous (sic.) diplomacy is to the two peoples, who are also close neighbours historically and even consanguineously.
Information minister Christopher Mushowe yesterday confirmed that Mugabe would make the trip to Lesotho and offered an excuse for Mugabe’s failure to travel to Botswana saying,
The Botswana event coincided with the Zanu PF women’s league meeting that was so important the President had to be there. Botswana and Zimbabwe are friends and have been since the struggle because our people sought refuge in that country.