Mogae slams Khama Govt in controversial interview
Former President Festus Mogae has used an African Leadership Forum to take a swipe at President Lt. General Ian Khama’s government.
Calling Botswana a country in regression, he accused the present regime of failing to respect the rule of law.
In a hard-hitting interview he decided to break the silence on his much-debated choice of a successor and speak out, criticising the Khama regime for reversing gains the country has made over the years.
His comments are bound to spark fury amongst those that feel that Khama can do no wrong Mogae made his controversial remarks criticising Khama’s leadership during the Africa Leadership Forum in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania last week.
In a video that was posted by CNBC Africa on You tube Mogae can be seen and heard saying, “ We do recognise that we have made many good decisions, but what appears to be lacking is the political will.
The facilitator then asks him: Are you looking at your self? And he answers, “Yes, in my country for instance, we are regressing.
“The problem is that if you criticize the successor regime, the suspicion is that, yeah you still want to rule from the grave.
We were a small country that ran an open economy and an open society, but our present government has reversed that.
“It’s inward looking but we had prospered in the past because we used professionals from all other countries, but that has been reversed by our government.
They have expelled over 2000 foreign professionals over the past six years.”
Responding to the follow up question posed by the CNBC Africa host about what institutions were necessary to ensure that citizens are able to criticize leaders without fear Mogae responded,
“When I was president I’d have invited you for a debate anywhere, anytime in Botswana and anywhere else to express my views and accept yours.”
This was seen as another jab at President Khama who has shunned all form of debates both locally and internationally, preferring instead to send Minister of foreign aff airs Phandu Sekelemani to represent him at various meetings.
Expounding further on how “the regime” has reversed the country’s gains over the years Mogae went on to say, “In my country however I did my best endeavour by passing laws, but what is happening is that the present regime does not respect the rule of law.”
Perhaps even more damning however on the Youtube video clip circulating on social media is Mogae’s statement which comes short of an admission to have made a regrettable mistake in appointing Khama as his successor when he says in conclusion: “So I’m not a good example if you are talking about succession.”
The former president was addressing an audience of high profi le guests including former South African President Thabo Mbeki and former Nigerian President Olasegun Obasanjo, Mogae.
Mogae’ scathing remarks on the Khama administration comes after another former President, Sir Ketumile Masire’s controversial remarks at the late Botswana Movement for Democracy President Gomolemo Motswaledi’s funeral, which many have interpreted as an endorsement of the Umbrella for Democratic Change President Duma Boko.
The former statesman called for opposition unity during his eulogy to Gomolemo Motswaledi – something that was not well received in the ruling Botswana Democratic Party circles.
Meanwhile BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi said he was not aware of the said clip and asked to be given time before he could respond to Mogae’s accusations.
Acting Minister of Education Mokgweetsi Masisi also claimed ignorance of the video and Mogae’s remarks made during a panel discussion that included the Executive Secretary of UN Economic Commission for Africa Carlos Lopes, the founder of women Private Equity Fund Wendy Luhabe, and CEO of Presidential Delivery Bureau Tanzania, Omari Issa.
The panellists were part of several African leaders that have gathered in Tanzania to discuss challenges facing Africa’s transformation and the leadership, strategies and institutions required to effect Africa’s transformation and take the continent forward.
Mogae could not be reached for a comment on his statements at the time of going to press.