Botswana president condemns ban on Kenya statue

Signs in the presence of the statue of Kenyatta on the day of his birthday in Gaborone, Botswana

Botswana President Ian Khama has condemned the ban on the display of the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s statue on 1 January, as “inhumane, unacceptable and demeaning”.

The museum of the culture of African who are Botswana people should have put up the Kenyatta portrait to celebrate the Kenyan president’s birthday on Monday, but the ban on displaying it has put a damper on his festivities.

The First Lady of Kenya, Margaret Kenyatta, had gone to Botswana to “marry the ideals of tolerance and respect” of her country and Botswana.

“The ban is [also] unwarranted and doesn’t serve to promote tourism in Botswana,” the president said in a statement.

Both the Namibian and Tanzanian presidents, Hage Geingob and John Magufuli, as well as Tanzanian Deputy President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, have signed a condolence book.

The director of the Centre for African Visual Arts (CAVA), James Fadzi, has called on the culture minister to overturn the ban.

“The arbitrary decisions, eg banning Bantu folk songs, have proven to be unworthy of any society,” said CAVA’s director.

President Khama said the government was looking at ways to make the culture ministry “more functional” in order to better handle public relations issues.

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