Wednesday, September 28, 2022

OP not worried by ‘gangster portrait’ of President Khama

Nearly eight weeks after a photograph of a bald-headed President Khama hit the Internet, The Sunday Standard has discovered another Khama picture on Facebook.

This time around, President Ian Khama is portrayed as a gangster-rapper, in the company of rappers Ramadeluka Seretse (Minister of Defence, Justice and Security), and current Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Exports Development and Investment Agency, Jacob Nkate.

The trio is shown as mates or intimate friends in an active social mode, reflective of a group known as G-Unit, of which 50cents is a part, with the President’s arms and hands-bearing cartoons, possibly typifying the posture and mannerisms of the folk.

Given the reaction that came from the Office of the President following the appearance of a picture, which showed the Head of State with a shaved scalp eight weeks ago, it was only natural that one would curiously seek to know what the tempo was at the highest office in the land.

Nkate’s disinclined attitude as responded to the Sunday Standard through BEDIA’s Public Relations and Corporate Communication’s manager, Kungo Lentswe, tended to heighten the anxiety even more. That was especially compounded by the presumption that may be the “mates” have already chatted about the matter.

Lentswe, who initially sought to know what the focus of this reporter’s story was intended to be, finally got back saying, “Rre Nkate has said he does not want to talk about it.”
Anyone having previously read the statement in which the Government Communications and Information Services decried as disrespectful to portray the Head of State in a plain scalp, would no doubt find cause to brace for the worst.

We tried several times to get hold of the OP, a number of times in vain, but finally, “Hello, Madisa on the line, can I be of help, Sir?”

Actually, I never spoke to Madisa before, so I couldn’t resist the memory or thought of the response to the Echo article, as if it was audible rather than written.

We exchanged niceties, then right into the issue, “Look Mr. Madisa, there is this picture from FaceBook, in which President Khama, Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Seretse and Mr. Nkate have been depicted as gangsters-rappers, so what I want is to establish if you are aware of it,” I said.

As if curtly, yet casually, the Private Secretary to the President responded with a question, “That is an old picture, why would you want to write a story about that?”

Whilst I was still kind of mumbling for the answer, which would be both gentle and truthful, he then like one who gave it a second thought, said, “Ok, this is my comment, ‘I have nothing to comment about the picture, nor do I think the President will find any worth to…”.

Suddenly our conversation was disrupted by a clattering laughter from the other side of the phone, and there was Madisa, “…Haa aha.., no Toka, I have changed my answer.”

Then it turned out he was watching the picture I put through a little while prior to our telephone discussion.

I must admit I can’t say more than my laughter.

Seretse concurred with Madisa, “Personally, I don’t see any malicious intent in the picture. I think it was something borne of humour, especially so because other than faces none of all the features that make those figures belong to anyone of us.”

On whether, on the practical sphere, the picture might have epitomized some existing social link between the triad, the soft spoken former army officer was forthright.

“Not anything close to it. Rre Nkate is a friend, fellow party member and former colleague in Cabinet but we don’t meet often nor visit each other. As for Rre Khama, although he is my cousin, we don’t really have a social life together much less to the point that it could be projected in the manner that the portrait gives out,” explained Seretse.

However, he hastened to point out that it does not mean that “we can’t discuss social issues at work, but fundamentally he is my president”.

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