Drought breaks as a new president breaks the mould

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Drought breaks as a new president breaks the mould

A flashy inauguration is but one marker that sets Mokgweetsi Masisi apart from his more reserved predecessor

Sarah Hudleston

When Botswana’s new president, Mokgweetsi Eric Keabatse Masisi, was sworn in on Friday it had not rained in Gaborone for months. The unrelenting dry heat was like a furnace that turned the mucus in your nostrils into crisp linings that itched, and dried your skin into fine sandpaper.

Probably because of the heat, VIPs and dignitaries started arriving at the venue, the indoor sports arena at the University of Botswana, at 6.30am. Nobody was late. Batswana know how to keep time. Former civil servant Elias Dewah said this was probably due to the rigid insistence on punctuality by former president Ian Khama, who, it is said, was a strict disciplinarian and did not tolerate “African time”.

The excitement in the arena was palpable, particularly among young Batswana and especially when the dignitaries started to arrive. Their chatter intensified and there were wild bouts of clapping and cheering, depending on which VIP guest was walking into the stadium. Some former MPs were greeted by roaring approval from the crowd, while some went unheralded...

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