The Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Margaret Nasha seems set to be at odds with President Seretse Khama Ian Khama over the SADC Elections Observer mission to South Africa. Yesterday the Botswana government released a press brief reiterating the position that.
Botswana still abides by its last year’s decision to suspend its participation in SADC observer missions.
Government’s spokesperson, Dr. Jeff Ramsay has insisted that the suspension applies to all citizens of Botswana “When the government says it suspends its position it means that any citizen of its country should not take part.” Dr Ramsay however would not be drawn into specifically stating whether Nasha would be prevented from going to South Africa.
Nasha has said she is awaiting a response from the leader of the House Vice President Ponatshego Kedikilwe but felt that she was not invited as a representative of Botswana “I am happy they specifically said the position of Botswana, not SADC parliamentary forum. I am not representing Botswana but the SADC parliamentary forum.”
The Vice President declined to comment on the matter.
Nasha was recently appointed to lead a mission for the SADC Parliamentary Forum in SA elections scheduled for May 17th. The resolutions of the forum are to observe elections as part of building democracy in the region.
Public Administration Lecturer at the University of Botswana Dr. Bashi Mothusi said it was unfortunate that the speaker of the National Assembly has no problem with SADC observer mission but is at odds with the president. He said the situation may send a conflicting message to the government’s partners even outside the SADC region. Dr. Mothusi said there was no reason why Botswana should not participate as countries learn from each other. “The best thing was to lodge a complaint. What if in October we have no one from SADC? We are simply isolating ourselves,” he said.
“I believe if Nasha is sponsored by SADC, she should just inform His Excellency and go as she does not account to the President.”
President Khama was reportedly not amused by Nasha’s recently released autobiography and criticized her for being negative at the recently held Botswana Democratic Party special national congress. Nasha has however insisted that Khama was well aware of the book as she consulted him when she started wring it.