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Khama divides opinion, refutes forming new party

CHAKALISA DUBE
Khama PIC: KEOAGILE BONANG
FRANCISTOWN: Despite his firm position that he will not form a new party former president Ian Khama continues to divide opinion and heightens speculation surrounding his political future.

On Wednesday during a kgotla meeting at Monarch location in the Francistown West constituency, there was very diverse opinions on what Khama intends to achieve with his frequent kgotla meetings around the country. 

Some believe that the former president is trying to gauge the mood and general opinion on the ground pretty well before deciding if he should form a new party or his next political move. 

With the 2019 general elections a year away there have been reports that Khama is planning to form a new party. Khama has come out to say that he will not form a new party. 

Even during a kgotla meeting he addressed at Monarch this week, Khama denied swelling reports that he intends to form a new party. 

According to media reports Khama and Masisi do not see eye-to-eye, which is why the former is no longer happy to associate with the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). 

It has been widely speculated that Khama has increasingly become frustrated because his successor Mokgweetsi Masisi has been reversing some of his policies and does not entertain some of his post presidency interests.   

“Those people who are saying that I want to form a new party are not telling the truth. Take it from me I am not going to form a new party,” he said. 

Khama reiterated that his post presidency focus will be on charity with specific focus on Batswana. Despite his remarks many

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felt that the former president was not being genuine.  

He has even in the recent past warned that he may not back the ruling BDP at the general elections should its government introduce programmes and policies that he does not support. This was also calculated as an indication that Khama intends to dump the ruling party. 

Political scientist Dr Kaelo Molefhe who is also a lecturer at the University of Botswana (UB) has backed sentiments that Khama might be up to something with his trips across the country. 

“I find it hard to understand why he is addressing those Kgotla meetings. It is quiet unusual for a former president to go around the country doing what he is doing.” 

He added: “Even his remarks during those meetings have been punctuated with some political statements. He might be denying that he will form a new party but talking in that direction alone suggests that there might be an agenda he is pursuing. He is a politician after all”. 

Kaelo said that it cannot also be discounted that Khama might be trying to read the tone of the people before deciding to challenge Masisi for the position of party chairperson. There have also been reports that Khama’s sympathisers are lobbying him to contest for the BDP chairmanship in what is believed to be a plan to topple Masisi.



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