Mugabe attacked Khama, accusing him of not supporting the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Pelonomi Venson- Moitoi’s bid for chair of the African Union (AU) Commission. Mugabe was speaking during the recent Zimbabwe-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC).
Over the years opposition parties have been complaining about Khama’s absence at international and regional organisations fora. They argued that key issues of both international and regional concern determine the future of the global economy.
When co-chairing at the Zimbabwe-South Africa BNC, the Zimbabwean leader said Khama did not lobby enough for his minister and it was an impossible mission for Venson-Moitoi to win because her President does not attend AU meetings.
In a telephonic interview with the UDC head of communications, Moeti Mohwasa concurred with Mugabe. He said that Khama failed Venson-Moitoi and the country at large.
Mohwasa said over the past eight years Khama has not shown leadership skills by not attending international and regional organisation summits. He said that the absence of the President during the international meetings sends the wrong message that as a country we are not dedicated to the continent body.
“If Khama continuously snubs AU events, it might send a wrong impression that Botswana is not committed to the organisation,” he said.
Mohwasa said they long complained about the continuous absenteeism of the President at the AU and other international organisations.
He said moving forward the country should take serious measures against such behaviour as it could tarnish the reputation of the country and even affect their relations with other countries.
For his part a political commentator, Solly Rakgomo said that Mugabe is an African statesman and a former AU chairperson and therefore he does not have any reason to doubt him.
“I think what Mugabe said about Khama is the naked truth. He knows the voting and lobby system of the AU elections,” he said.
Rakgomo said it is obvious that Venson-Moitoi rival group used the absence of Khama during AU forums as a motive to win against her.
He indicated that it is therefore important for Khama to attend such important meetings in order to promote good relations with other countries. He said his presence at AU forum will indicate that Botswana is committed to the continental body.
During the 27th AU summit, which was held at Kigali in Rwanda, Venson-Moitoi lost the election for AU chairperson to Chadian foreign affairs minister Moussa Mahamat.
Mahamat succeeds South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the first woman to lead the bloc of 54 states, who did not seek a second term in office after completing a four-year term. Throughout her campaign, Venson-Moitoi defended Khama’s attitude towards the AU stating that he has handed over the responsibilities to the Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi.
“He (Khama) is not the country. He is not Botswana,” Venson-Moitoi said parrying journalist’ suggestions that Khama’s snubbing of AU events suggested that Botswana was not committed to the continental body.