Botswana recoils over Uhuru after Twitter uproar

Botswana Foreign Affairs Minister Phandu Skelemani changed his stand to state that Kenyatta was most welcome to visit Botswana because he was innocent until proven guilty/FILE

Botswana Foreign Affairs Minister Phandu Skelemani changed his stand to state that Kenyatta was most welcome to visit Botswana because he was innocent until proven guilty/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 13 – Botswana has now retracted an earlier statement declaring President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta persona non-grata, if he refuses to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Botswana Foreign Affairs Minister Phandu Skelemani changed his stand to state that Kenyatta was most welcome to visit Botswana because he was innocent until proven guilty and because he had been cooperating with The Hague-based Court.

Skelemani added that his earlier statement had been misinterpreted, and maintained that Botswana would continue working with Kenya.

“I apologise to the Kenyan people for misunderstanding my earlier statement. I wish to maintain that Kenya and Botswana have always worked together and nothing will distract that,” he said.

“I would also wish the newly elected President of Kenya and his government all the best in the new responsibility of governing Kenya,” he added.

The Minister had earlier told Mmegi – a Botswana news outlet – that Kenyatta should not set foot in the country if he declines to cooperate with the ICC.

He however said that he expected Kenyatta and Deputy President-elect William Ruto to heed to all the ICC calls, when their cases resume.

“If he refuses to go (to The Hague), then we have a problem. That means that they do not know the rule of law. You can’t establish a Court and refuse to go when it calls you. If he refuses, he won’t set foot here,” Skelemani said.

Skelemani’s statement grabbed Kenyans’ attention and rubbed some of them the wrong way.

While they took to social networks like Twitter and Facebook to express their bile, the Batswana also responded with equal venom.

The trends #SomeoneTellBotswana and #SomeoneTellKenya were started on Twitter where rants from both Kenyans and Batswana were expressed.

And even though some Kenyans once again accepted the apology on their social networks, the Twitter war continued.

Government spokesman Muthui Kariuki also took issue with the statement saying it was disrespectful.

“As we know what is required of us under the Rome statute, we will continue to respect that position, no Kenyan has ever refused to go to the ICC and we expect Uhuru Kenyatta to comply,” he said.

  • R

    Shame on you salve-minded Botswanese leaders!!!!!!!!!!!! We do not need your ramshackle help. President Uhuru’s case will be dropped and you will be even more ashamed when Deputy President Ruto’s case will also be dropped

  • http://www.facebook.com/deeshics Divajay Shics

    WE HAVE MUST GOTTEND IT WRONG ABOUT THIS MESSAGE FROM BOTSWANA..

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carlos-Mopis/100002284629109 Carlos Mopis

    The Botswana population is less that the total rejected votes in the just concluded general elections…by the way,is Botswana a village in South Africa?

    • http://twitter.com/viru5detected Jang’o Unchained

      Botswana is in fact the most economically successful African country with their economy at per with Turkey…and it has consistently had the highest economic growth rate in the world since independence in 1966. Their GDP per capita is $16,800 with an unemployment rate of 7.5% compared to our $1,800 and 40% unemployment rate so your tyranny of numbers in this case means absolutely nothing

      • Saich

        All this numbers you are quoting here should be relative to population. And what is their population 2m against our 40m+. lets not forget to attribute some of that success to the brains they have imported from kenya. The fact remains that statement was disrespectful to Kenya’s president elect.

        • sky

          Guess you never sat in a stat class.

          • http://www.facebook.com/Conservationists Sam Githaiga Kariuki

            same statistics i did have no basis here. Hiyo ndio ilidanganya mtu fulani ni raisi. Huge error of -8%

        • SkumiWaki

          Come back when you finish primary school.

    • muchemi

      your simply mind is deceiving you

  • hininini

    It would appear that the uniquely Kenyan practice of tyranny of the numbers continues even in cyberspace. Why are we so fond of mob justice even where intellectual engagement would be the best way to go ? In my humble view the statement from Botswana is tautological as it does not convey any new position regarding the ICC case in Kenya. As such it does not warrant reactions on such a scale.

  • Mzalendo

    Botswana is a third world country very little known in Kenya’s international trade cycle. Kenya has a very high prospect in it’s strategic plan courtesy of President Kibaki. We have very good relationship with countries that matter like all East Africans, China, Russia and so on. At this point we can do away with colonial hangers-on.

    • wut

      How long did America colonize you?

      Or was it Soviet Russia who colonized you during the cold war? I forgot?

  • Sam Humble African

    Woe unto you Stupid Goons for hire making irresponsible statements to our Tswana brothers. At least the Tswana RESPECT the law unlike you who encourage CORD to go to the courts and later tell them that it amounts to raising tension in the country. Mshidweee

  • Tumase John

    I’ll remain a Mkenya Daima and preach for more ethical and professional way of handling international ties..we are all brothers though separated by borders and diverse cultures. If you are at peace with yourself, you end doing and acting positively. Let’s love one another..

  • A Kenyan

    Botswan used to be a respected country there b4, but now i can see they have joined the cults of like other countries that preach water and takes wine, Why do they advocate for ICC and yet they refused to be member to it. Do they want 1st to kill all; Arabs, Iraqis, Afghans, Iranians just to mention a few?. n finally Kenyans. To hell with Botswana’s and if need be evacuate all your people from Kenya and never come back

    • obvious

      Did you know that all the black people in Botswana are secretly white imperialists wearing masks?

      This has to be the West’s fault. It has to be!

  • rsvp5627

    Uhuru will emulate Kibaki who made headlines by receiving visiting heads of states
    from important countries e.g. China, Germany and Iran.

    He should not envy Raila whose frequent foreign trips made little headlines.

  • Eddos

    Its unfortunate for us as the people of Botswana to rush to comment on other people ‘s issue,Our honourable Minister should understand that we can teach the kenyans Democracy but we can not teach them how to govern themselves.The Bible says if you rush to pick-out a small stick on the eye of your fellow brother make sure that the big plank that is on the top of your eye you have removed it yourself.Remember ga gona ntlo e e sa neng kgotsa ee sa neleng mo Aferika.