Government spokesperson Dr. Jeff Ramsay has told the Global Post in an interview that President Ian Khama’s convoy freely made way for a blue-light procession ferrying Premier of the North West Province in South Africa, Supra Mahumapelo.
Mahumapelo was in the country last week attending the Global Expo Trade Exhibition in Fairgrounds. It was not immediately clear if Khama was coming from the same event or not.
Ramsay told this publication Sunday that Khama’s convoy paved way for the mid-level African National Congress’s provincial leader because Khama’s procession saw other motorists doing the same.
Ramsay, who seemed hamstrung with the finer details of the saga couldn’t pin point the exact spot where the episode unfolded, save to say that it took place in Gaborone.
Giving a brief synopsis of the embarrassing lapse in protocol, Ramsay noted, “some people were getting out of the way so the president’s people also got out of the way.”
Even with the case’s far-reaching ramifications, Ramsay noted that as far as he is concerned there is no investigation underway to determine what could have gone wrong.
Ramsay stated that contrary to South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper, President Khama is not angry even though what happened “was not proper.”
Ramsay also confirmed that they have sent a letter of grievance “through appropriate channels.”
Furthermore, he revealed that he is aware that the South Africans have issued their response even though he hasn’t seen the letter.
Ramsay also noted that he is “quite alive to the seriousness of the matter” noting that even though the affair bears striking similarities of a case between Zambian President Edgar Lungu and opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema, there is currently no talk of criminal charges.
Hichilema’s convoy refused to pave way for Lungu’s convoy in April 2017, an act that was to earn him 3 months in solitary confinement, staring a treason charge in the eye.
The two Zambia politicians were on the way to attend a traditional ceremony in one of the country’s provinces.
The upshot of the Zambian affair was that Hichilema had refused to recognize Lungu as a legitimate president following a contentious presidential election in 2016.
A video of the event shows two distinct convoys jostling for space on a dilapidated, narrow and shoulder less road.
Hichilema’s supporters can be heard hurling profanities as the presidential blue lights whizz past in high speed.
The charges against Hichilema were dropped two months ago and he was released.
The government released a statement Sunday signed off by Ramsay, acknowledging the incident: “With reference to various media reports appearing this morning, this is to confirm that there was indeed an incident that took place in the afternoon of Wednesday (1/11/17) in which a convoy carrying the South African North West province’s Premier Supra Mahumapelo back to South Africa resulted in vehicles escorting H.E. the President Lt. General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, among others, to move off the road.”
It continues to state; “H.E. the President’s life was not under any threat during the incident. Government expressed its concern to the Government of the Republic of South Africa about the unfortunate incident through the appropriate diplomatic channels. The matter is being resolved in an amicable matter (sic).”
However, Mahumapelo’s spokesperson Brian Setswanbung is quoted by News24 media denying the incident.
The medium quotes Setswanbung as simply stating, “There was no such thing.”
The controversial Mahumapelo has been derided in his country for belonging to a faction angling for unbridled power allegedly calling itself ‘The Premier League.’
The Premier League is supposed to be an alliance of three provincial ANC leaders, Mahumapelo, Free State Province premier Ace Magashule as well as premier for Mpumalanga Province, David Mabuza.
The faction is said to back ANC presidential hopeful and former African Union Commission Chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
The Premier League is also said to be funded by the controversial Gupta business family.