Stop xenophobic comments towards Zimbabweans, Masisi says to Botswana MPs

Mnangagwa torched a storm through claims of a possible passport waiver by two countries

By Staff Reporter

Botswana President Mokgweetsi has warned MPs in his country to stop displaying “xenophobic” behaviour towards Zimbabweans as debate on the possible use of identity cards by both nationals in crossing the border between two countries continues.

This follows claims made last year by Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the Kusi Ideas Festival he had agreed with Masisi to scrape the passport requirement for both nationals wishing to visit either country.

The comments invited a backlash among Botswana legislators who voiced their disapproval over a policy that was made without their consultation.

There were fears of a possible Botswana “invasion” by Zimbabweans fleeing economic hardship in their country.

Responding to MPs in parliament, Masisi told the lawmakers to be careful not to discriminate against Zimbabweans.

“You didn’t say anything when we did this arrangement with Namibia, but just because it is Zimbabweans you are discriminating them, you are belittling them, you are xenophobic.

“If we can check your phones now you will find that some of you have their numbers and have illegally hired them,” he said.

The Botswana government later tried to allay the MPs’ fears by saying there was no signed agreement yet between the two countries on the passports waiver.

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