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Khama to rejoin BDF when he retires

I like being a soldier and my father knew it – Khama

President Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama says he would rejoin the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) as its Commander when his presidential term comes to an end in 2018.


So intent is the 62 year old President that he plans to ensure that his Vice President would commit to the idea before he succeeds him as president. Khama made the public statements at a politically rally on Thursday, to some it came as a joke, but some it appeared to have intent.


“When I retire from this job I will rejoin the army. I will make sure that the Vice President who would become the next President would appoint me the Commander of the BDF. If he rejects the idea I would not make him the President, I will appoint the one who would make me the army Commander,” Khama pointed out.


Khama made the revelation before multitudes of the ruling party followers on Thursday this week in Goodhope where he was addressing a political rally ahead of the weekend by elections in the  Goodhope-Mabule constituency.


The ruling party candidate is the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Eric Molale who Khama holds in high regard. Molale was specially elected to Parliament after the 2014 general elections after he quit his long service as the Permanent Secretary to the President. According to Khama Molale has very rare special character as “he has got experience, ability and knowledge. Even I do not have the amount of knowledge he has about the government of Botswana.”


Khama’s comments raised fresh speculations that he might be planning to appoint Molale the next Vice President of the country and in turn Molale would reward him with the position of the army commander so that Khama would continue to hold on to the reins of power long after 2018.


Khama was appointed the country’s Vice President by then President, Festus Mogae. He succeeded the Presidency in 2008 when Mogae retired at the end of his 10 year ten in office. However Khama says all this time, he had never stopped his love of being a soldier.


He said even his father; Sir Seretse Khama who was the first President of the country knew that he was a soldier at heart. In fact it was his father who appointed him to lead the army in the late 1970s.


“When I became the Bangwato chief, I was a soldier. I was adorned with a lion’s skin. But my father asked the elders to release me from my chieftaincy duties so I can be a soldier. When I finish this job I am going back to being a soldier because I like being a soldier,” Khama explained.


Khama who is also a Paramount chief of Bangwato tribe in the central District was explaining how he ended up leaving the army and joining politics.


He explained that he was approached by the former President, Festus Mogae who wanted to make him his Vice President.


“I called village headmen of arbitration and royals and requested them to allow me to join politics. I gave them two weeks to consult the community and decide on the matter. After two weeks they told me that the people have allowed me to go ahead and join politics. I did not go to the kgotla and inform them of my decision, but I requested them to allow me to leave the kgotla,” Khama further stated.


He was in fact encouraging the Goodhope-Mabule constituents not to vote for the opposition candidate, Kgosi Letlaamoreng II of Barolong who is contesting under the ticket of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). Another contender in the game is Comfort Maruping of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP).


Khama says it would not be wise for Barolong to vote for the opposition at this point because development would be slow to arrive in the constituency.


“Having a Member of Parliament from the ruling party is an advantage because the opposition would not ask for assistance from the BDP. You need an MP who would interact with us every day and tell us about your problems so that we can assist you. If you want representatives from the opposition, they would set you backwards,” Khama further stated.


The Goodhope-Mabule constituency was left without a Parliamentary candidate about three months back when James Mathokgwane of the UDC quit joining the corporate world.

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