Botswana’s Foreign Affairs minister Phandu Skelemani has made a U-turn on his warning to Kenya’s president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta not to set foot in Botswana if he refuses to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Mr Skelemani said Mr Kenyatta was free to visit his country as he was ‘innocent until proven guilty’.
“This is to retract my statement made earlier about the President elect of Kenya. The President elect of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta is more than welcome to visit Botswana.
“Botswana respects the rule of law and it’s cognisant of a section of the law that maintains; ‘One is innocent until proven guilty’,” the Botswana minister’s statement reads in part.
Mr Kenyatta is one of those singled out by the ICC in 2010 for their alleged involvement in fuelling the post-election violence of 2007-2008 in which an estimated 1,100 people were killed.
Mr Skelemani’s statement further said he appreciated Mr Kenyatta’s compliance with the ICC ever since the beginning.
“I apologise to the Kenyan people for misunderstanding of my earlier statement. I wish to maintain that Kenya and Botswana have always worked together and nothing will distract that.”
Mr Skelemani went on to wish the newly-elected president and his government ‘all the best in the new responsibility of governing Kenya’.
Mr Kenyatta has maintained his commitment to cooperating with the ICC.