‘Black Je­sus’ con­voy shoves pres­i­dent off road

Sunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By QAANITAH HUNTER

North West pre­mier Supra Mahumapelo’s blue-light con­voy is said to have forced Botswana Pres­i­dent Ian Khama off the road in his own coun­try.

The Sun­day Times can re­veal that Khama was seething af­ter a mo­tor­cade of Ger­man sedans trans­port­ing Mahumapelo pushed his own mod­est con­voy to the side of the road in Lo­batse on Wed­nes­day. The in­ci­dent has caused a ma­jor diplo­matic spat.

Mahumapelo — known to his sup­port­ers as Black Je­sus — was rush­ing back to Mahikeng af­ter at­tend­ing a trade ex­hi­bi­tion in Gaborone, two hours away, when his blue-light brigade pushed Khama’s car off the road.

A fu­ri­ous Daphne Kadiwa, Khama’s chief of pro­to­col, called South Africa’s top diplo­mat in Gaborone, Bulelwa Kiva, to de­mand an apol­ogy. One was given, but Kadiwa also lodged a com­plaint with the Depart­ment of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions and Co-op­er­a­tion.

When Mahumapelo ar­rived at the Botswana bor­der the fol­low­ing day to re­turn to the trade ex­hi­bi­tion, he was kept wait­ing for sev­eral hours for clear­ance to en­ter.

Sources with knowl­edge of the in­ci­dent said Kadiwa threat­ened to refuse en­try to the pre­mier and his en­tourage be­cause of their be­hav­iour the pre­vi­ous day.

“The Botswana gov­ern­ment have be­come very an­gry be­cause they [Mahumapelo’s con­voy] lit­er­ally pushed Khama’s cars off the road. The mat­ter has been taken very se­ri­ously on that side,” one source said.

Mahumapelo’s spokesman, Brian Setswambung, con­firmed that the pre­mier was in Gaborone this week, but did not com­ment on the diplo­matic row.

“As a pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment close to Botswana we’ve got a good work­ing re­la­tion­ship,” he said. Setswambung re­ferred fur­ther ques­tions to the Depart­ment of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions and Co-op­er­a­tion, which did not re­spond. Nor did Khama’s spokesman, Jeff Ram­say.

Supra Mahumapelo, left, and Ian Khama

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