Botswana issues arrest warrant for ex-president Ian Khama
GABORONE, Botswana — An arrest warrant has been issued in Botswana against former President Ian Khama for illegal possession of firearms.
Khama, currently residing in neighboring South Africa, denies the charge, his lawyer said.
The former president was formally charged in April last year but has yet to appear in court. A court in Botswana issued the arrest warrant for Khama on December 29.
Khama has been in South Africa for about a year, after falling out with his hand-picked successor, President Mokgweetsi Masisi.
Khama, 69, president of Botswana between 2008 and 2018, says he is being hounded for his opposition to Masisi.
“There was no crime. I did nothing wrong,” Khama told South African state broadcaster SABC.
He said the mandate was part of Masisi’s campaign to persecute him ahead of Botswana’s 2024 general election.
“I have been and will continue to be increasingly targeted in this way because I remain the most consistent voice condemning and exposing Masisi for the incompetent failure that he is,” Khama told Voice of America. .
Botswana has yet to ask South Africa to extradite Khama.
Khama, the son of Botswana’s first president, Seretse Khama, was the southern African country’s fourth president. After serving as commander of the Botswana Defense Force, Khama served as vice president from 1998 to 2008, then became president when Festus Mogae retired.
Khama was re-elected in the 2009 elections and was re-elected again in 2014, leaving office after completing two five-year terms.
Khama quit the ruling Botswana Democratic Party in 2019 and is now the boss of the dissident Botswana Patriotic Front.