Minister denies Khama-Mugabe confrontation

President Mugabe addressing members of the media at a press conference
President Mugabe addressing members of the media at a press conference

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, has expressed disappointment at media reports that stated President Ian Khama confronted his Zimbabwean counterpart Robert Mugabe at a SADC Summit held two weeks ago.

Addressing journalists yesterday afternoon at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, Venson- Moitoi said it was not true either, that Khama walked out of the summit in Harare. She said Khama got permission from the chair of the meeting to leave early. “In fact, the SADC agenda ended early, at 1230hrs, and the issue of xenophobic attacks in South Africa was raised as ‘Any Other Business’.

President Jacob Zuma briefed the meeting on the issue,” Venson Moitoi said as she waited for the arrival of Mugabe in Botswana for a SADC mission. She said Khama told the Harare summit that the region would not condone the killings, but on the other hand two things had to happen: “Each African country has to work hard at creating employment at home to make sure that we satisfy the demands because there is need for employment throughout the continent, as we cannot expect South Africa to be the employer for the rest of the continent like it used to be in the past. South Africa cannot continue to be an employment bureau for the rest of the continent”.

Venson-Moitoi added that Khama told the summit SADC had agreed to industrialise while South Africa helped with the expertise. Hence, the industrialisation plan should be implemented.


Venson-Moitoi denied that there was a confrontation between Khama and Mugabe. She said that there was deliberate intention by the media to create animosity between Zimbabwe and Botswana.

She explained there would be no hoisting of flags of the two countries for Mugabe’s current trip to Botswana because he was not on a state visit, but on a SADC mission. “This is not a government to government visit, neither a state visit and therefore some of the protocols that are applied in that situation will not be applied. President Mugabe is coming here in his official capacity as SADC chairperson. There will be no flags on poles, no guard of honour, and this is why I am going to protocol him, and not the president,” she explained.

While in Botswana, Mugabe will tour the SADC secretariat, pay a courtesy call on Khama before the two have a private lunch. “The two presidents will share lunch together tomorrow (today) and they will share whatever ideas in the privacy they will have in the confines of the State House,” said Venson-Moitoi. The minister addressed the media briefing with SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stegomena Lawrence-Tax and Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Botswana, Thomas Mandigora. Meanwhile Mugabe, who arrived late afternoon is expected to fly back today.

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