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Khama’s plans after presidency

Publishing Date : 16 January, 2018

Author : ALFRED MASOKOLA

Outgoing President, Lt Gen Ian Khama has this week revealed his plans for his life after retiring from the office at the end of March next year, and his plans would continue to make his ever domineering stature light up.


If there have been any thoughts that Khama would slip into obscurity after his presidency, perhaps it is time to start thinking again. It looks like Khama post presidency years would be dominated by public life activities; perhaps he would be busier than during his presidency both at party and national level.


Khama, the son of the iconic founding president of Botswana, Sir Seretse Khama, arrived at the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) nearly 20 years ago. His arrival was on the back of a recommendation by the findings of the famous Schlemmer Report.


Professor Lawrence Schlemmer had been engaged by the ruling BDP, abetted infamously by the De Beers, to offer prognosis on the future of the party owing to its 1994 General Elections dismal performance and factional infightings. Schlemmer recommended that the party bring someone with a strong character and who was not tainted by factions in the party. That description then fitted Ian Khama.


Only 45 years at that time, Khama’s arrival in the party saw his stature during his tenure as Vice President dominating that of his predecessor and his boss then, Dr Festus Mogae. This week, Khama assured the multitudes at the Moshupa-Mmanyana constituency that though he is leaving the Office of the President, his public service duties will continue.


He revealed that the cabinet has resolved to appoint him the champion of Vision 2036, a role that will see him travelling around the country engaging citizens on the values and spirit of the vision. If that is not enough, he was also chosen by the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Thapelo Olopeng to be the patron of Arts and Culture. Khama is also patron for Botswana Football Association (BFA), Botswana Softball Association and Botswana Volleyball Association.


For his departure he is also taking along with him the Presidential Housing Appeal but it will be renamed ‘since there would be a new president.’ Khama revealed that his Presidential Housing Appeal has seen donation of over 800 houses during his presidency.


“I am leaving my post as president as you have already heard, but I would continue with my public service duties. I am going to be the champion of Vision 2036. I have been elected by the cabinet to teach Batswana about the 2036 and I would be engaging you in Kgotla meetings in near future,” said President Khama. Khama would continue be a chancellor for Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN). Khama was appointed the chancellor of the university in October this year.


Khama has already revealed previously that he will lead the 2019 general elections campaign. Khama’s willingness to stick around and work for both the party and government has seen many suggesting that he could also be offered the party chairmanship next year, which would become vacant with the ascendance of Masisi to the Presidency.


It is reported that Khama’s close ally, and party Chairperson of Electoral Board, Parks Tafa had suggested to the party central committee back in 2015 that they use Khama as the man who lead the party campaign in 2019 because of the popularity that he still enjoys among the populace of the country.


BANGWATO CHIEFTAINSHIP


The retirement of Khama next year will be a watershed moment for the tribe of Bangwato, which has been under regency chieftainship since the death of Sekgoma II in 1925. The Bangwato tribe, the largest and most influential tribe in Botswana will for the first time in almost a century have the opportunity to have a substantive chief since 1925.


Ian Khama (or Khama IV) is the Kgosi of Bangwato but has not been unable to take over the throne ever since being pronounced the chief of the tribe in 1979. 
At the time when he was pronounced the chief of Bangwato he was serving in the military as Brigadier General and also army Deputy Commander. Previously, his father was also unable to take the throne first owing to his controversial marriage to British national Ruth Williams, and secondly due to his decision to engage in national politics during the formative years of Botswana.


This week however Khama has said as part of his post presidency roles, he will assist the Bangwato Regent, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane in issues relating to chieftanship. His father, never took over the throne too, owing to a scandal he was embroiled – that is his disputed marriage to Ruth Williams, and later to his involvement in national politics. If Ian Khama does not take the throne next year, as he suggested, it would be the 93rd year of Bangwato chieftainship under regency. 

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