Reshuffle shows Masisi reckons top SADC job is already in the bag
On April 16 President Masisi made Elias Magosi, permanent secretary in the presidence since 2019, an acting ambassador-at-large.
Having hoped to persuade the Congolese president to back Botswana's candidate for SADC secretary-general, Masisi has returned from Kinshasa empty-handed. Now that he has done the rounds of most of the key influencers in this election, the Botswanan president has no choice but to pay a visit to his South African counterpart, with whom he does not have the best of relationships.
To cope with the growing international interest in the Southern African Development Community, where Russia has been building on Soviet-era ties, Vladimir Putin pulled out the big guns by appointing his main Africa expert, Andrey Kemarskiy, to the embassy in Gaborone.
Of all the directorates of the Southern African Development Community, the one charged with regional political, defence, and security issues is by far the most strategic. Headed by Angola's Jorge Cardoso, it has to humour the changing moods of the organisation's rotating presidents at a time when a SADC military response is increasingly expected in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province.
As the only two SADC member states entitled to put forward a candidate for the post of executive secretary at the next summit scheduled for August, the DRC and Botswana are gearing up for a fierce battle to land the four-year appointment.
Botswanan President Mokgweetsi Masisi is hoping that by looking out for his Namibian counterpart, Hage Geingob will return the favour. Strengthening this regional alliance is vital for the Botswanan head of state given his frosty relations with Cyril Ramaphosa.
An extraordinary summit meeting of Southern African Development Community states has failed to offer much-needed solutions to the growing security crisis in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province. Maputo's reluctance to accept foreign help has certainly played an important role.
Both Namibia's and Botswana's heads of state like to present themselves as a model for regional cooperation but a burgeoning bilateral crisis is undermining that reputation. So far SADC has kept quiet, even when the Botswana army fatally shot three Namibian civilians in an antipoaching operation.
In an effort to dampen criticism of DCEC's perceived lack of independence, President Mokgweetsi Masisi has made the third change in three years at the top of the agency. The "new" boss is none other than Tymon Katlholo, who ran it for more than a decade at the turn of the millennium.