President Mokgweetsi Masisi is expected to make new appointments of Ambassadors and High Commissioners next month, this publication has learnt.
Information gathered by this publication is that some of the casualties of the recalling and appointing new diplomats are the country’s career diplomat Nkoloi Nkoloi who is currently based in Japan as the Ambassador and former cabinet minister Dr John Seakgosing who is currently the High Commissioner in United Kingdom.
Dr Seakgosing was appointed the Botswana’s High Commissioner in 2018 taking over from the Roy Blackbeard who was retired. Nkoloi took over as Ambassador to Japan in 2017 replacing Jacob Nkate who resigned and rejoined active politics.
The Serowe born diplomat, Nkoloi held various key positions at Government enclave for many years and these include Second Secretary for Economic and Political Affairs at the Botswana High Commission in Pretoria, Private Secretary to former President Festus Mogae, Foreign Affairs Director for Europe and the Americas, and Head of Public Relations.
Whilst Dr Seakgosing is not favored by his age, it is not clear why Nkoloi is being returned home. Allegations are that the Masisi administration is growing uncomfortable with the closeness between Nkoloi and Bangwato paramount Chief, former President Ian Khama.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations Dr Lemogang Kwape said he is not aware of any new appointments as it is the prerogative of the President. “We are only informed by the Office of the President if there are any new appointment and we release a statement and am not aware of any changes in the foreign missions,” he said.
Though Dr Kwape was diplomatic in his response, sources at his ministry have revealed that Nkoloi has already been informed about his imminent return to Botswana and his successor already identified.
Some of those who are considered for diplomatic missions are said to include former deputy commander of Botswana Defence Force Retired Major General Gotsileone Morake and director general – support services, Major General Molefi Seikano.
General Morake recently voluntarily retired as the deputy commander of the BDF, a move that surprised many within the disciplined forces as he was regarded as the next commander whilst General Seikano who many thought will be appointed deputy commander was overlooked for his junior Major General Mpho Mophuting.
Expert on Security Issues, Moikalafhi Bathodi indicated that it won’t come as a surprise if President Masisi can deploy General Seikano to Foreign Affairs.
In 2011/12 when faced with succession issues at Botswana Police, President Ian Khama redeployed the two deputy commissioners Kenny Kapinga to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where he was appointed High Commissioner in South Africa then Zimbabwe and Ikwatlhaeng Bagopi to Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs as Permanent Secretary.
“We have seen in the past former army general deployed to foreign missions due to their experience in diplomatic issues and have done well,” he said.
Bathodi said that according to the Clausewitz philosophy, the military has always been linked to the diplomacy but was never part of it. He said that most army generals have studied international relations and due to the nature of their career they are trained on diplomacy.
One of the army general who shaped the country’s foreign policy was the late Vice President Lieutenant General Mompati Merafhe who was the longest serving foreign affairs minister from 1994 to 2008.
Press Secretary to the President, Batlhalefi Leagajang denied that there is a reshuffle in Botswana’s diplomatic envoys. “There are no new appointments of envoys or recall of any serving Ambassadors/ High Commissioners. If there are any developments pertaining to the deployment of envoys, then an official announcement will be made at the appropriate time,” he said.
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