Masisi, Mswati in Stand-Off Over Khama 

  • President Masisi has accused eSwatini of hiding Khama
  • eSwatini says it knows nothing about Khama being a fugitive
  • King Mswati spokesman advises Masisi to follow proper diplomatic channels




The Kingdom of eSwatini has hit back at President Mokgweetsi Masisi over his recent assertions that King Mswati is hiding and aiding former president Ian Khama to avoid facing justice in Botswana.


The tiny kingdom claims that it is not aware that former president Khama is a fugitive from justice.


“Therefore, it suffices to say that the Government of eSwatini has nothing in hand as a basis on which to respond to in this matter,” eSwatini government spokesperson, Alpheous Nxumalo, told eSwatini media.


Mutual diplomatic relations


“When the King responds to President Masisi, it will be done through the framework of the mutual diplomatic relations between the two countries, which is managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.


“Anything in between remains just good intentions and sentiments.”


Addressing Heads of Foreign Missions in Gaborone last week, President Masisi slammed the Republic of South Africa and the Kingdom of eSwatini for accommodating Khama despite his “fugitive status”, saying this undermined the countries’ diplomatic ties.


Masisi “out of order”


King Mswati’s Director of Communications, Percy Simelane, has also weighed in on the matter, using language alien to diplomatic etiquette when he addressed journalists in the kingdom.


Simelane said Khama does not stay in eSwatini but visits from South Africa where he and his family live.


“He appears to be out of order in that he has ignored the UN Protocols on settling disputes and complaints between two countries, particularly Clause 1 of the Vienna Convention of 1961 which militates against mudslinging between two countries if there is an issue to be attended to,” The Eswatini Observer quoted him as saying.




“SADC too has similar protocols. So does the African Union. If he had observed any one of these protocols, we would have been ready to engage Botswana and explain that eSwatini has no record of any aid to their former president Ian Khama.”


According to unconfirmed reports, Khama has relocated to eSwatini after he was stripped of VIP protection by the South African government recently.


Meanwhile, more reports from eSwatini also suggest that Khama has been roped in as a Special Personal Advisor to King Mswati.


While the eSwatini government has denied these claims, The Swaziland News has reported that Khama is often offered decent accommodation and state security personnel by the King.


10 soldiers and police officers


The report added that Khama is currently billeted in a hotel with alternative accommodation in a house allegedly owned by King Mswati’s wife, Inkhosikati Make LaNkambule.


“Khama’s security personnel include two security officers from Botswana and about 10 soldiers and police officers,” according to state intelligence sources.


The report added that Khama could soon buy a house in eSwatini.