Just days before the dust of the Serowe kgotla meeting addressed by Bangwato chieftaincy could settle, President Mokgweetsi Masisi will set foot in his predecessor and now foe, Ian Khama’s backyard tomorrow (Tuesday).
The President is on a countrywide tour since last week but is expected to address a potentially restive crowd in Serowe. Masisi and Khama have not seen eye-to-eye since their fallout two years ago, leading to the former head of state defecting to the opposition Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF). Masisi’s meeting, which is part of the President’s scheduled public engagements, comes just three days after Bangwato in Serowe vowed to stand with their Kgosikgolo, Khama. The battle lines have been drawn and it seems indeed Bangwato are ready to defend their own judging by the state of affairs of the recent meeting.
The Friday meeting was specifically called to address the tensions between Khama and President Masisi since the former has been complaining about the treatment he is receiving from the Office of the President as well as alleged harassment by state security agents. Bangwato did not mince their words and condemned Masisi’s actions against Khama.
They warned that their Kgosikgolo should be left alone to enjoy his retirement. During the highly charged meeting, different speakers took a swipe at President Masisi for his treatment of his former boss. They said they are concerned that Masisi’s administration continues to tarnish Khama’s name in the public.
They said the harassment against Khama is uncalled for and has to stop. One of the speakers, Kesiilwe Garekwe, alleged that since Masisi took over as President, Khama’s life has been under threat. He said there have been attempts to poison him. “Jaanong batho betsho, enough is enough. Re a tshwanela gompieno re supegetse Masisi le puso ya gagwe gore enough is enough,” Garekwe said. Garekwe said Masisi should tell them on Tuesday what it is that Khama owes. He also urged his tribespeople to defend their Kgosikgolo by all means possible against Masisi’s mistreatment.
Another speaker, Kediretswe Sentsho warned Masisi would do anything possible to intimidate them, but they should not be scared to go to prison for speaking their minds. Representing Khama on the day was SKI Khama Foundation chief executive officer, Mogomotsi Kaboeamodimo who also slammed Masisi’s administration for mistreating Khama. He blamed Masisi and other ministers for some decisions that were made under the Khama administration including the firing of civil servants during the 2011 strike. The tension between the two has been raging since Khama vacated office in 2018. Masisi has before admitted that there has not been a smooth transition, something that Khama denies.
After taking over the reigns, Masisi has gone on to reverse some of his predecessor’s policies in a move believed to be a way to spite his former boss. While the cause of the feud between the two is unknown, Masisi has once accused Khama of creating two centres of power.