Venson-Moitoi defends President’s AU absence
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, is adamant that President Ian Khama’s absence from most African Union (AU) meetings should not be blamed for her missing out on the organisation’s coveted Chairmanship position.
Moitoi loyally defended the President’s decision to stay away from the majority of AU summits, noting that he was at home mingling with Batswana.
Addressing the media on Tuesday – Moitoi’s first press briefing since she returned from Ethiopia after unsuccessfully contesting the AU Chairmanship – the defiant minister was in no mood to play the ‘blame game’.
“Batswana lea lebala, you forget that Rre Mogae was termed the ‘absent president’ because at most times he was busy outside the country. Khama announced that he would change this.
“When he got in power he did mention to all of you that he would handle issues of the SADC region and here at home, and that the AU and UN dealings will be the responsibility of his Vice President,” she reminded the gathered media.
Noting that it was impossible to please everyone, Moitoi went on to say, “I do not know what it is you guys want, Khama was giving you something that you guys complained about during Mogae’s tenure.”
However, Moitoi ruefully admitted that some countries cited Khama’s absence as a reason not to vote for her.
“I feel it was just an excuse, they had no reason not to vote for me – they used this as an excuse,” she said, adding that she was ‘more than qualified’ for the AU Chairmanship.
On the funding of her campaign, Mma V as she is affectionately known, claimed to have received zero financial aid from the government.
“I did not receive any direct cash. But government did allow me to use some of my time during government aided trips to campaign,” she revealed, sighing sadly with the apparent realisation that her dream of becoming AU chair would probably never be realised.