There was controversy and confusion at the Government enclave over a decision to deny Leader of Opposition recognition including a meeting with the visiting president of Namibia.
Already there is name calling and finger pointing over how it happened that Leader of Opposition Duma Boko was left out of all protocol.
Boko was not even afforded a private meeting with Namibia President Dr Hage Geigob.
While some in the opposition say this a deliberate snub orchestrated by the ruling party, the chief whip of the ruling party has also come out to say it is wrong.
In a move that shocked the opposition ranks Speaker of the National Assembly, Glady’s Kokorwe moved to introduce other dignitaries but omitted to introduce Duma Boko.
In an interview, the ruling party Chief Whip, Liakat Kably indicated that he was also shocked by the turn of events.
Kably was of the view that as the Leader of Opposition, Boko should have been afforded time to meet with the visiting president.
“I went to ask Boko whether or not he had been given the opportunity to meet with Geigob since it was appropriate looking at the fact that the President addressed parliament an arm of the government that regards the LOO with a highest regard,” added Kably.
Kably was of the view that there is a need for uniformity when it comes to affording LOO an opportunity to meet with visiting Heads of State.
Kably was concerned that Boko was not afforded time to meet with the visiting President though in the past other opposition leaders such as the then LOO, Botsalo Ntuane was afforded time to meet with the late Zambian President, Michael Sata.
He said that then LOO was able to inform the visiting President about their struggle and political landscape in the country.
According to Kably the LOO informed him that he was fine when he quizzed him if he had been afforded the opportunity.
“I don’t know if he was joking when he informed me that it was fine with him or he was just saying that out of frustration,” added Boko.
Kably stated that he will take up the issue at the advisory committee with the Speaker of the National Assembly since he was not part of the people that drafted a plan on Geingob’s visit at parliament.
Meanwhile Gaborone Central Legislator Phenyo Butale gave the visiting president a thumbs up for continuing to strengthen relationships with Botswana for the betterment of the citizenry of the two member states.
Butale stated that the visiting president should have been accorded an opportunity to engage with the LOO.
“It would give him the benefit of divergent views. Currently he was speaking from the views and briefings from the government side only. We hold different views and we believe that in every democracy it should be basic requirement that after meeting the president he should meet the LOO,” added Butale.
He said that Geingob should be wondering why he was not afforded time to meet him with Boko.
Butale was of the view that the move was depriving the world a full understanding of this country. Butale suspects that denying a visiting president was an orchestrated move by the ruling party to deny the Leader of Opposition to share his views about Botswana political landscape.
“Our story will not be complete unless all the views represented in parliament and in our society are given space,” said Butale.
He argued that in the past President Festus Mogae and President Sir Ketumile Masire afforded the press and Leader of Opposition an opportunity to meet with the head of the states.
He said that this is not happening under President Ian Khama which gives a clear picture that the current government fears that they might not be doing something right.
According to Boko he was informed that the visiting President is the one who decides who to meet. He said that according to what he was told there is no how he can impose himself to the Namibian President.
He said that it will not be a bad thing to meet the visiting president. Boko said that the ideal situation for any person who wants to understand the internal dynamics and politics of a country is to get views from different angles.
“Meeting us would be important if the Namibian president is desirous of understanding Botswana’s democracy and how well it works. Not only to hear from the government but to also interact with the opposition and appreciate what the opposition has to say about this democracy. But of course its his call to make. It’s not ours to determine for him,” added Boko.