By G9ija

Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi returned to work on Tuesday, avoiding a situation where a cabinet minister would have had to assume the post, since the country’s acting president, his deputy, Slumber Tsogwane, was in Malawi.

According to Botswana’s constitution, whenever the president was absent from the country or was not feeling well, by way of written notice he could authorise the vice president to assume the duties required.

In the event that the vice president was absent from the country for any reason, the president could designate “some other minister”.

Masisi took leave on 2 January to go into self-isolation after testing positive for Covid-19 in the last week of 2021 but didn’t show any symptoms. In his absence, Tsogwane assumed presidential duties.

As such, on Tuesday, Tsogwane flew to Malawi to join heads of state in Malawi attending SADC’s Extraordinary Summit to review the regional bloc’s mission in Mozambique against insurgency.

In announcing Masisi’s return to work, John-Thomas Dipowe, acting permanent secretary for government communications, said: “We are pleased to inform the nation that his medical team has assessed his health status and subsequently cleared him because he continues to have no Covid-19 associated symptoms.”

Masisi tested positive after having met his Mozambican counterpart President Filipe Nyusi, who also tested positive along with his wife. The two leaders held meetings in Cabo Delgado Province in late December.

Nyusi recovered last week and he joined other SADC leaders in Malawi yesterday.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, in southern Africa, eSwatini’s King Mswati III, Namibia’s Hage Geingob, Lesotho’s Moeketsi Majoro, South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, Nyusi and Masisi had all, at one point, contracted Covid-19.