‘Black Jesus’ convoy shoves president off road
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