Former President Festus Mogae is suddenly unwilling to talk about comments ascribed to him during an interview he granted the CNBC recently in which he criticized the Presidency of Ian Khama as dictatorial. Mogae made the remarks during an interview on the sidelines of the African Leadership Forum on July 31 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The Sunday Standard attempts to seek further comment from Mogae were first met with resistance from his spokesman Segaetsho Garekwe who clearly did not entertain the insistence by this publication to obtain a comment during a glittering ACHAP awards ceremony held at Gaborone Sun Friday night.
Garekwe would prefer that the interview be conducted at another day convenient for him. Later that night after the Sunday Standardpassed a note to inform Mogae what type of questions we sought him to answer to the annoyance of Garekwe, Mogae gave a blunt response with a wry smile that he can only grant an interview “after the elections”.
It was not immediately possible to establish if there was any instruction to the former President not to comment further either from his ruling Botswana Democratic Party or President Khama. Mogae is reported to have said that under his Presidency, there was tolerance to debate while Khama is intolerant to debate. When I was president I would have invited you to a debate, anywhere, anytime in Botswana anywhere else…express my views, accept yours and challenging those with which I did not agree. I was able to do that with Mbeki, with Obasanjo, and President Mkapa here…
In my country, however, I did my best endeavour, by passing laws and so on. What is happening is that the present regime does not respect the rule of law: it is inward looking. We have prospered in the past because we used professionals from all countries including Tanzania..and we trained our people in south Africa, and in Nigeria, and in Ghana.” Mogae says in the interview with CNBC basic cable and satellite business news television. It has since emerged that the Botswana Democratic Party command will be summoning the former president to explain his comments which the party views as subversive.