FRANCISTOWN: With temperatures having reached boiling point in the ruling party since the fallout of President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his predecessor Ian Khama, the former may have found an ally in China.
While Masisi was away in the United States battling animal rights activists, Chinese Ambassador to Botswana Zhao Yanbo was singing praises to the new administration.
During the Business Botswana Northern Trade Fair that was held on Friday, Zhao gave the Masisi led regime the kudos saying that ever since the regime ascended to office, things are looking good between Botswana and China unlike in the past.
He said: “I am very pleased to note that since President Masisi assumed office, the Botswana government has adopted a number of policies with the aim of improving the business environment and attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Now Botswana has become more open and welcoming to the whole world. More and more Chinese business people are coming to Botswana ever since the current regime took over”.
Later Zhao added: “I was recently in Maun and saw a lot of Chinese tourists in Botswana”.
Although Zhao did not directly state that China had a problem with Botswana’s former regime that was led by Khama, it is public knowledge that Botswana and China have never known peace during Khama’s administration.
During Khama’s administration, Gaborone irked Beijing by stating that it had no problem with the Dalai Lama, a figure who is considered a separatist by Beijing.
Khama angered Beijing by inviting The Dalai Lama to come to Botswana, but The Dalai Lama could not manage
Khama would, post his presidency, visit The Dalai Lama as a chief guest for their March 10, 60th anniversary of an abortive 1959 uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet.
During Khama’s led administration, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Botswana decried that some of their members were deported from Botswana without any valid reasons.
The situation has now changed ever since Masisi assumed office. Veering from his speech, Zhao stated that investors need to be assured that their investments are safe before coming to any country to invest.
He lauded Botswana for the peace and tranquility that exists stating that they are one of the pre-requisites that investors take into consideration before deciding to invest in any country.
After assuming office, Masisi has visited China on a number of occasions to mend relations that some are of the belief that Khama has destroyed.
Recently a delegation of the Chinese Communist Party visited Botswana to meet with government and senior Botswana Democratic Party officials.
The visit by the Chinese Communist Party delegation provoked the ire of the opposition, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), who claimed that the Chinese officials were not on a government visit but on a visit to fund the BDP ahead of the highly anticipated general elections in October which some analysts say may go either way.