President Bingu wa Mutharika is expected to arrive in Botswana on Monday for a two-day visit. The visit, however, has already attracted controversy after the opposition took the unprecedented decision to pull out of the programme saying they cannot share a platform with a dictator.
Heads of state visiting Botswana always meet with the Leader of the Opposition but this time; this will not happen with Mr Mutharika after the opposition said they would shun him because of his horrible human rights record.

Former Leader of the Opposition in Botswana, Mr Nehemiah Modubule is spearheading the boycott with the announcement that he will not deliver a vote of thanks as planned when the Malawian leader opens a new stadium in his Lobatse constituency.

Autocratic rule

The highlight of President Mutharika’s visit in Botswana is the opening of the 22,000-seater stadium built in Lobatse town, 60 kilometres west of the capital Gaborone.

“My personal ethics, political values and belief in the principles of the rule of law and good governance do not permit me to share the stage with an individual of Mutharika’s calibre,” the MP said over the weekend.

He described President Mutharika as an intolerant leader who has repeatedly violated the rights of his people.

He cited President Mutharika’s reported instruction to the youth of his party last month to assault opposition members who criticise him as example of autocratic rule.

“As an opposition legislator, such utterances attributed to a head of state, who has just been chairman of the African Union have left me shocked. My appearance in the podium (with him) would amount to complicity in the harassment of opposition activists in Malawi,” Mr Modubule said.

Africa Review

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