Khama-Masisi fight not a SADC problem: Geingob

28 May 2019 13:00pm
WINDHOEK, 28 MAY (NAMPA) – Southern African Development Community (SADC) Chairman President Hage Geingob has ruled out the possibility of the regional bloc intervening in the ongoing political squabble between former Botswana President Ian Khama and his successor, Mokgweetsi Masisi.
The final straw came on Saturday when Khama quit Botswana’s ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), citing his differences with Masisi.
“I came here to tell you that I am cutting ties with the BDP as I do not recognise this party anymore. It was a mistake to choose Masisi as my successor. I will now work with the opposition to make sure that the BDP loses power in October,” Khama was quoted as saying.
Geingob made SADC’s position known during Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli’s State visit to Namibia on Monday.
Magufuli is SADC’s incoming chair, taking over in August, and Geingob took time to brief him on the state of affairs in the regional bloc.
“Believe me or not, that in Botswana, the former president apparently quit his father’s party and that is a problem that is happening. I know both of them and we said we are going to talk as Africans and see whether we cannot find a solution,” Geingob said.
This statement prompted a call for clarity from the media present.
“We are just shocked that [the] former president maybe said he is leaving the party…it didn’t come to the attention as a problem to SADC. So, as the SADC chairman, I cannot get involved in that. It’s not a SADC problem. It’s a domestic problem like you [journalists] and I fighting daily here,” Geingob clarified.
Relations between the former allies took a dip since Masisi, previously Khama’s education minister and deputy, took over as president in April last year.
Masisi, who surprisingly admitted to having been a “bootlicker” back then, dutifully accepted everything Khama said or did when he was in his Cabinet.
However, when he took over, he started to assert himself as the “man in charge”, reversing a raft of Khama decisions and appointments in the process.
Reports further suggest that Masisi restricted Khama’s perks and privileges, including reportedly barring the former president from flying army aircraft.
Rounding up his desk, Geingob said he does not want to leave too many unresolved issues when he vacates the SADC post.
Pointing to some of his key successes, Geingob said under his leadership, SADC was able to handle the unstable political situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which culminated into a peaceful election.
“The mere fact that peaceful elections took place in DRC in itself is a success,” he said.