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President and predecessor feud in proudly stable Botswana

AFP  |  Gaborone(Botswana) 

has used his first state-of-the-nation address to openly attack his predecessor in an unprecedented clash in a nation that prides itself on stability.

Masisi, who was hand-picked by Khama, took power in April when stepped aside after serving the maximum 10 years in office.

But the two men have since fallen out in a public spat that threatens to undermine Botswana's carefully-crafted reputation for stable government.

"Batswana are all aware that the transition from the previous administration has not been as smooth as expected," Masisi said in a keynote address to parliament on Monday, using the term for the people of

He said he had tried to "smoothen the process" by appointing senior politicians to negotiate with

"I regret to announce that their efforts have not borne fruit," Masisi said, adding that a central cause of friction had been Khama's retirement entitlements and pension.

Khama has reportedly been enraged by Masisi's refusal to let him use government planes, while have been instructed not to feature the former

The two men have also battled over the former boss of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Isaac Kgosi, who was sacked by Masisi for insubordination.

Khama, 65, has sought to employ Kgosi as his but has been blocked by Masisi.

Masisi, 57, served as vice to Khama, and the handover of power came a full 18 months ahead of due in 2019.

prides itself on good governance and rule of law, and is widely seen as an African success story that has made good use of its lucrative income from diamond, beef and tourism.

It is rated as the least corrupt country in by

"It is because of the peace and tranquillity that our leaders have sustained for so long that (we) have continued to enjoy relative prosperity," Masisi said after taking his oath in April.

Khama's office was not immediately available to comment on the state of the nation address.

Both men are veterans of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), which has held power since independence from Britain in 1966.

Khama's father, Seretse Khama, served from 1966 to 1980 as Botswana's

Four opposition parties have said they could unite for the 2019 election to try to unseat the BDP.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, November 06 2018. 17:40 IST