- President says he will not engage in any reconciliation efforts
- Khama accuses Masisi of rejecting attempts at reconciliation
President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his predecessor Ian Khama remain poles apart in their mutual animosity inspite of several efforts at reconciling them, the latest being at SADC level by Angolan president João Lourenço as the current chairman of the regional bloc.
Lately President Masisi appears to have closed the door on any attempt to reconcile with Khama.
In a statement to journalists this week, the President says that he will not engage in reconciliation efforts and that decisions will be made in the political arena.
He and Khama were invited to meet with Angolan president and SADC chairman, João Lourenço in Luanda on 28 December 2023, an invitation that both men accepted and honoured.
While it was understood that their differences formed the agenda of the meeting, President Masisi says a meeting between Khama and himself was never a part of the arrangement.
“We never met and I have no reason to meet him,” he said this week. “We shall only meet on the political field.”
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lemogang Kwape, recently told journalists in Gaborone that the President had met his Angolan counterpart in Luanda and told him his side of the story about his soured relationship with Khama and returned home.
Face to face
However, a statement released by the SKI Khama Foundation on 4 January stated that the Angolan invitation was for the specific purpose of bringing Khama and Masisi face to face for a possible resolution of their differences.
“Our information is that after arriving in Angola, President Masisi became unavailable for the agreed meeting (and) instead opted for a private meeting with President Lourenço, and left immediately after the meeting,” said the SKI statement.
In a subsequent development, The Botswana Gazette recently reported that President Lourenço was planning to send a delegation to meet with previous mediators in the Khama-Masisi antipathy in order to better understand why earlier efforts to reconcile the two men had failed.
The previous mediators named were former president Festus Mogae, former vice president Ponatshego Kedikilwe, former minister Charles Tibone, and BDP treasurer Satar Dada.
Khama’s view is that President Masisi is avoiding a meeting because he fears being exposed by evidence.
“He does not want any resolution that will see me back in the country before the elections,” said Khama. “But as you know, I have indicated I will return before the elections, with or without a resolution.”
Khama has also criticised Masisi for not informing the Angolans of his position, accusing him of wasting their time and resources in attempting to facilitate a meeting.