Former President Ian Khama has accused Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kgotla Autlwetse of jealousy and interference in matters of the royal house even though he is not family.
Responding to questions from The Patriot on Sunday, Khama said Autlwetse is playing delaying tactics to block the royal uncles’ delegation from meeting President Mokgweetsi Masisi. He said it is not true for Autlwetse to say that Khama snubbed many calls for him to be reconciled with Masisi, adding that he responded to all the attempts made before. “I am neither reluctant nor delaying. For the record, I have met with every team elders and individuals who came to see me over this several times. That does not demonstrate any reluctance,” said Khama.
Khama said Autlwetse is not a relative to him, therefore he has not consulted him about the issue at hand despite claims that he is failing to respond to calls to meet Masisi. According to Khama, the royal uncles want to meet Masisi and not Autlwetse as per their request submitted over three months ago and so far denied access by government officials.
Recently, the uncles expressed disappointment, accusing Masisi of snubbing them. To that end, the uncles have been pressing for Autlwetse to be removed from meetings with the delegation. Their bone of contention is that as a cabinet minister under Masisi, Autlwetse is conflicted and therefore posing a stumbling block on their way to meeting Masisi.
Asked, if he shares the same view that Autlwetse is conflicted, Khama said minister is definitely not neutral. “You can make up your own mind as to whether or not Minister Autlwetse is not conflicted. He has been using his position to frustrate Tribal Administration in the district to retaliate against his 2019 loss and targets those that he feels made him lose the elections including myself,” said Khama.
Recent media reports indicate that through Autlwetse, Masisi informed the royal uncles that he wants to meet Khama directly. Efforts to contact Autlwetse proved unsuccessful at time of going to print as he didn’t answer the calls directed into his mobile phone.
In an interview with one local radio station last week, Autlwetse emphasized that Khama is the only person delaying progress as there is no how the meeting can go on in his absence. “President Masisi made attempts to bring former president to the table but he was reluctant. President Masisi asked the royal uncles to come to my ministry as it is the one that is responsible for the issues pertaining to Bogosi. We met and agreed with the royal uncles that there is no way the matter can continue without the presence of both Masisi and Khama,” said Autlwetse.
Independent political analyst Kitso Morekisi said it is highly likely that the issue of MEK and SKI can be resolved. He said the conflict between Masisi and his predecessor Khama is fought based on political power. “It is the battle of the two influential and powerful men and it won’t be solved anytime sooner. The royal uncles are just being used to throw the weight behind Khama whereas Autlwetse as Khama’s subject coming from Serowe is potentially thrown in by Masisi to fight for government,” he said.
According to Morekisi, the feud between the two has been lingering for four (4) years hence it is not at all good for the country with regards to national unity therefore putting Botswana so bad. The fallout between Masisi and Khama led to the former president breaking ranks with ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) crossing Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) -a BDP splinter party.
Backed by Khama as its patron, the BPF went on to claim sweet victory against the BDP at the elections winning three (3) Serowe constituencies bringing an end the BDP dominance. The BDP not only lost the Serowe constituencies, but also lost majority of its traditional strongholds to Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) such as Palapye, Mahalapye and Shoshong.
Masisi first admitted the fallout with his predecessor when delivering his maiden State of the Nation Address (SONA) in November 2018, also noting that efforts for reconciling the two failed.
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