The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Phandu Skelemani, has refused the Leader of Opposition, Botsalo Ntuane, an opportunity to meet the visiting Mauritian President.
Ntuane had written Skelemani an official letter asking the minister to facilitate such a meeting.
Ntuane said it was an established tradition for a visiting Head of State to also have a formal meeting with the Leader of Opposition.
Skelemani said the government was unable to see the “value addition” that the meeting would have brought.
He said an official visit to Botswana by a dignitary is primarily a government matter meant to cement relations and any engagements are done on the basis of time and the value that the same are likely to add to such relations.
“I regret to inform you that it is not possible to arrange for your good self to pay a courtesy call on the Prime Minister on account of the pressure of time and our inability to see the value addition your meeting with the Hon. Navinchandra Ramgoolam would bring,” Skelemani said in his correspondence with Ntuane.
Requesting Skelemani to facilitate a meeting with the Mauritius Prime Minister, Ntuane had written: “In line with protocol established over the years for the Leader of Opposition to pay a courtesy call on Visiting Heads of State, I accordingly submit a request for your good office to facilitate for me a courtesy call on Prime Minister Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam. Please note that this is standard request applicable to all future visits by Heads of State. However, I will formally communicate my request in writing, in respect of every visit taking place.”
Khama’s administration has been treating Ntuane with naked disdain as Leader of Opposition. When the country went through the longest strike action in history by public servant, as Leader of Opposition, Ntuane sought an audience with the Head of State but the request was turned down.
In June, Skelemani’s office refused to facilitate a courtesy call by Ntuane on the US First Lady Michelle Obama.