Donald Trump is a contentious topic in Botswana, where the government is uneasy over a former leader’s harsh criticism of the American president.
The spat pits Ian Khama, who stepped down as president in April after a decade in power, against the new administration of a country whose reputation as one of the most stable and well-governed in Africa has come under more scrutiny in recent years. Khama’s successor, President Mokgweetsi Masisi, last month acknowledged a wider dispute, saying the political transition in Botswana had not been “as smooth as expected”.
Khama was known for blunt talk as president and he hasn’t toned it down since leaving office. The former military commander ridiculed Trump during an Oxford University appearance in October, saying “the immaturity of the man is unbelievable” and “he’s the worst president America has ever had”.
On Saturday, Botswana’s foreign ministry said it was concerned about Khama’s “disparaging remarks” about Trump at Oxford and also recently at a traditional meeting in Serowe, a town in Botswana where Khama’s father Seretse, the country’s first president after independence from Britain in 1966, was born. Khama’s use of the meeting to “castigate a President of another country may be misconstrued as espousing an official position of the Government,” the ministry said in a statement.