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The special relationship between Batswana and the Zambian people is not just a matter of political correctness or the incitement of unnecessary pan-Africanist fervour.

Of course it is known that the two founding presidents of our countries Sir Seretse Khama and Kenneth Kaunda were close friends. Most importantly, Botswana and Zambia forged close ties during the liberation struggle, when misguided white supremacists reigned in most countries in the region. The roles of the two countries in the front-line movement and their subsequent leading role in the founding of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) cannot be overstated.

The peoples of our countries have had a close relationship, both at family and professional levels. Many Batswana have cousins, uncles, fathers, mothers and other family relations in Zambia. Many Batswana were taught by Zambian teachers and have Zambian friends and workmates. We therefore have a keen interest in what happens in Zambia.

We know that the country is going through a tough time mourning the passing away of President Levy Mwanawasa. As the country goes through this challenging time, we would like to urge calm and reason in choosing Mwanawasa’s successor. The current competition for the position should be handled with utmost care. We urge the ruling party to carefully manage the campaigns so that ultimately, competition does not lead to a crisis. A power vacuum is not desirable. However, the chaos that would ensue out of discontent in the post-presidential election phase should be avoided. We therefore urge Zambians to peacefully anoint Mwanawasa’s successor without the usual strife that characterises succession and transitions in our continent. With the current number of contestants estimated at nine, we want the ruling party to introspect deeply and make arrangements to manage the fallout from the campaign. We urge the contestants to remember that the country is much more important than their individual political ambitions. We therefore urge them to respect Mwanawasa’s legacy and fight an honourable contest. That would be the best honour to bestow on a leader of Mwanawasa’s calibre.

                                                 Today’s Thought
“The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.”
                                                – Benjamin Disraeli

Source: © MMEGI 2002 – 2008

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