Masisi-Khama Relationship Remains Hazy

Masisi and Khama on Saturday in Gaborone
Masisi and Khama on Saturday in Gaborone

PALAPYE: It was not entirely convincing whether President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his predecessor Ian Khama were ready to smoke the peace pipe when the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) emerged from a national retreat on Saturday.

After the retreat, party secretary general Mpho Balopi told a press conference that for the first time after a long time, Masisi and Khama had a plausible lunch together.

Balopi saw that as a positive step to reviving their soiled relationship, but no matter how much he tried to convince the press conference that was held at Majestic Five Hotel, something still seemed amiss.

The retreat was a first of its kind for the BDP, at least Masisi said.

It was inclusive of the BDP executive committee, all the sub-committees, including the disciplinary committee, and had auspiciously attracted the gray haired veterans of the party.

Close sources said converging of all these key members of the party, especially the veterans, was to hear Khama and Masisi’s difference and clear the mist between the two that is threatening to break the party apart.

However, Balopi was quick to point out that the party did not come to the retreat to emerge with an immediate resolve to the matters. He said they converged to table their differences and they would take them to the national congress where they would be resolved.

It was amiss from the onset, when Khama was a no-show to the President’s address. He only arrived after tea break. Khama was attending to a football match of the development sides at Palapye Swallows grounds.

In the conference centre, Balopi was directing the ceremonies, and he ordered that no movement shall be made when the President was giving his address and all the doors must be shut.

A source close to The Monitor said that was because there was uncertainty of the arrival of Khama, and there was fear his arrival in the middle of the address would unsettle the President, hence a strict order on movement.

The source who attended the behind-closed-doors session said judging by the posture and the tension inside the convention centre, the two will never smoke the peace pipe.

The source said Khama’s precence took the pomp out of the President and deliberations were made rather cautiously in his precence.

“He came in and listened. He didn’t say a word, but you could see the respect and the calmness from everyone including the President himself. There was order in the house,” said the source on condition of anonymity.

Adding, “A lot is going to happen after this retreat and of everything I don’t see these two men coming together unless if SKI advises Venson-Moitoi to pull out of the presidency race or may be change his allegiance, he commands a huge respect in this party that could easily give Moitoi the presidency”.

When sharing snippets of what happened, Balopi confirmed Khama did not say anything at the convention centre.

“He was there most of the session, but he did not show interest to doing anything,” he said.

He pointed out that it seemed the two could not meet because they could not find an opportune time due to parrallel meetings. He said it has been agreed by both that a meeting should be arranged as a matter of urgency.

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