We, the Botswana Civil Society Solidarity Coalition for Zimbabwe (BOCISCOZ), comprising The Botswana Council of Churches (BCC), The Botswana Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (BOCONGO), The Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU), DITSHWANELO - The Botswana Centre for Human Rights and The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Botswana Chapter wish to express our sincere condolences to the family of the late Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC-T and the people of Zimbabwe on his passing on 14 February 2018. Established in 2006, BOCISCOZ recognised the crisis which had ensued in Zimbabwe since the first farm killings in 2000 and the subsequent serious violations of the human rights of the peoples of Zimbabwe. BOCISCOZ also recognised that the domestic crisis in Zimbabwe had far reaching social and economic implications for our southern Africa region. Between 2000 and 2017, many Zimbabwean citizens crossed into Botswana, both as documented and undocumented migrants. BOCISCOZ addressed the increasing incidents of xenophobia in Botswana during this period, by creating fora for regular information-sharing by Zimbabwean and regional civil society about the domestic situation in Zimbabwe. We also encouraged the government of Botswana, together with other SADC States, to engage the government of Zimbabwe on these matters. We deeply appreciated the role which Botswana played in calling for the respect of human rights in Zimbabwe during this time.
One of the key concerns of BOCISCOZ was the treatment by authorities in Zimbabwe, of those who were, or were purported to be, members or sympathisers of civil society – including of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), led by Morgan Tsvangirai. His fearlessness in challenging human rights violations and political violence, was an important phase in the history of both Zimbabwe and our southern African region. BOCISCOZ deeply appreciates the role which he played in the post-independence democratic movement. This led to the development of various political parties and the recent political opportunity for meaningful change towards a functioning democracy. BOCISCOZ remains committed to the development and entrenching of human rights values in our southern Africa region, aimed at ensuring social and economic justice for our citizens.