Sunday, September 20, 2020

Botswana silent over diplomatic goof

The Office of the President and Ministry of Foreign Affairs this week would not comment on the diplomatic embarrassment following the clumsy handling of the controversy surrounding Botswana’s ambassador to Sweden, Bernadette Rathedi’s abortive transfer to the Botswana High Commission in London.

The Sunday Standard can reveal that Rathedi is being forced to withdraw her letters of recall from Sweden and her letters of agreemo to London after the Foreign Affairs office in Gaborone told her that they had been “instructed” to cancel her transfer to London under curious circumstances.

This comes after Rathedi had already informed her host country, Sweden, that she had been recalled, had already submitted her letters of agreemo to the UK authorities and was expected to present her accreditations.

The Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Moostaq Moorad, would not comment on the turn of events and referred all enquiries to his Permanent Secretary who was locked in a Cabinet retreat at the Gaborone International Convention Centre.
Presidential spokesperson, Jeff Ramsay, could also not comment saying he was not aware of the developments.

Sources close to the controversy told Sunday Standard that Rathedi’s transfer, which was made by President Festus Mogae, who will be vacating office in March, was, however, opposed by Vice President Ian Khama, who will be taking over the presidency in April.

The current Botswana High Commissioner in London, Roy Blackbeard, is understood to have been unhappy with the transfer and is believed to have lobbied Khama’s support.

Blackbeard surrendered his seat in Parliament to make way for Khama when he was brought in from the army in 1998.

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.