Masisi, Khama should bury the hatchet

That Head of State, President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his predecessor Ian Khama are fighting is no longer a secret.

The stand-off, rightly or wrong, forced the President to let the cat out of the bag on the matter in the last two paragraphs of his maiden State of the Nation Address (SONA) last November.

“Batswana are all aware that the transition from the previous administration has not been as smooth as expected. However, it ought to be noted, I have in my attempt to smoothen the process engaged senior citizens namely; His Excellency Dr Festus Mogae, His Honour Dr Ponatshego Kedikilwe, Honourable Ray Molomo, Honourable Patrick Balopi and Honourable David Magang to assist and lead in smoothening the transition. I regret to announce that their efforts have not borne fruit up to this point.”

However, this revelation was not received kindly by Khama who through the media released a missive to set the record straight. The ex-president added that Masisi’s statement was regrettable and misleading.

“The former president’s own version of events is that the transition went very smoothly as acknowledged both locally and internationally in that it was a transition from an incumbent leader to his successor.  The transition took place in the period leading up to the April 1, 2018 when Masisi became President and Khama a former president. That is when the transition ended. The period after the April 1, to date is post the transition as the leadership change had already taken place,” Khama responded.

At the time, Khama opined that there were positive developments in the mediation between him and his successor. Unfortunately, he said, the misleading statement in the SONA did not reflect this latest situation.

That was in November 2018. Three months later the two statesmen are still at each other’s throat and the nation is deeply divided between the two. A perusal of social media reveals a worrying development. It is either you are for Masisi or Khama. Batswana have allowed the feud to divide them. Shockingly, this animosity is also fought along tribal lines. Sadly, media houses have joined the sorry bandwagon and taken sides. Only a few are at least observing some modicum of objectivity.

It is sad that there are also reports that Masisi is abusing State institutions to punish those close to Khama, to send a clear message that there can only be one President of this Republic. If that is true, that is bad precedence. Institutional reputation must not be sacrificed on the alter of convenience. Khama was always accused of disregard the rule of law and Masisi must avoid replicating that.

The past week the two strong men were again at each other’s throat again. No side is letting the bygones be bygones. The public spats were embarrassing. Since the mediation by the Botswana Democratic Party elders failed, we propose that SADC Heads of State intervene before it is too late.


Today’s thought 

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” 

– Mahatma Gandhi

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