Masisi, the Church clash over Khama factor

  • OP ignores letter of mediation from faith-based organisations
  • Masisi convinced that the war is now personal and must be dealt with at that level


Elections fever has put President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Botswana’s faith-based organisations on a collision course after the Office of the President ignored a letter from churches asking to mediate in the feud between himself and his predecessor, Ian Khama.

The faith-based organisations have formed a task force led by former president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana, Reverend Master Matlhaope, and the first vice president of Botswana Council of Churches, Reverend Gabriel Tsuaneng.

“It is true that the esteemed Office of the President has not responded to our letter but there is willingness. The Church is an agent of peace and reconciliation. Whenever there is a need, the Church must provide for that need.”

The letter was written and delivered to the OP several months ago. But this publication was given the run-around between Masisi’s Senior Private Secretary Berzac Maphakwane and the Permanent Secretary to the President Carter Morupisi when it pursued the ecclesiastical epistle.

Nevetheless, it is understood that Masisi has reached the conclusion that Khama will not bend in his demand for what is not due to him, namely immunity from prosecution for himself and his businesses.

Meanwhile, an OP source who asked for anonymity has told the Botswana Gazette that the President also feels it is late for any intervention because it is only a few months to elections. “He is of the view that Khama should be dealt with ruthlessly after the elections,” said the source. “He holds that the war is now personal and must be dealt with at that level.”

Masisi is currently fighting for survival against an open putsch from on all fronts. The former president has now taken his anti-Masisi campaign to the international stage where he describes the Masisi administration as the worst in the history of Botswana.

It is understood that while Masisi may not necessarily mind the Church intervening, he has told close associates that his political career is under attack and he must therefore defend what he has fought for. Should he lose in the next elections, he would become the shortest serving president in the history of Botswana.

The attempt by the Church follows failed efforts by an adhoc committee made up of former president Festus Mogae and long time serving ministers and MPs Ponatshego Kedikilwe, Ray Molomo, Patrick Balopi and David Magang, all of them BDP elders and Botswana’s venerable senior citizens.

But while Masisi is reluctant to let the Church in, Khama would perhaps be more comfortable with it because he viewed the party elders with suspicion for the reason that some of them had openly criticized him as a spoilt brat and undemocratic. Masisi is a member of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) while Khama is of the Anglican persuasion.