- The Botswana government says former President Ian Khama is lying about a plot to kill him.
- The government says Khama’s allegations tarnish the country’s reputation regionally and internationally.
- He says no one is above the law and that President Mokgweetsi Masisi is not linked to Khama’s alleged crimes.
The Botswana government has dismissed as “outrageous” claims by former President Ian Khama that his family is under siege and that there is a plot to assassinate him.
Khama, who left Botswana in November 2021, is in South Africa. He previously said he had not fled the country and was minding his own business. He recently spoke to the SABC and opened up about his claims against his country’s government.
In the interview, he said his family had become the object of persecution in Botswana and faced false accusations from a hostile president, Mokgweetsi Masisi.
I put him (Masisi) there. I was very stupid. I made a mistake and apologized to the nation.
When Khama attended the funeral of former Zambian President Rupiah Banda in March, he said – in an apparent reference to Masisi – that “some politicians are not nice” and added that he was being persecuted in Botswana. Masisi did not attend Banda’s funeral.
Masisi responded to Khama through Acting Permanent Secretary for Government Communications John-Thomas Dipowe.
“The story that the former president and his family members are being persecuted is entirely devoid of truth,” Dipowe said in a statement.
Dipowe said it was “outrageous” that Khama even claimed there was an assassination plot against him. He added that Khama’s allegations had given Botswana a bad image.
The government therefore wishes to stress that the disinformation of former President Khama risks tarnishing the image of Botswana and its relations with its neighbours, the African continent as well as with the international community as a whole.
Since leaving Botswana, Khama has traveled to South Africa and visited Zimbabwe, Zambia and most recently Eswatini.
Khama, along with three others, is charged with 14 counts of unlawful possession of firearms in a landmark case that could lead to the jailing of a former Botswana head of state.
In the statement, Dipowe said no one in Botswana is above the law and like any other citizen, Khama should answer the charges against him.
While Khama has always insisted he was politically persecuted, Dipowe said Masisi had nothing to do with the accusations.
“TBEN arm of the state that manages these matters is the judiciary, and there is no way His Excellency the President can interfere with an ongoing judicial process, as the former president alleges,” he said. added Dipowe.
According to Dipowe, they “hope this issue can be resolved through shrewd investment in constant dialogue.”
In southern Africa, former heads of state such as Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, his successor Frederick Chiluba, Joyce Banda of Malawi, Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Jacob Zuma have had to answer for alleged crimes.