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No Vice President

Staff Writer
*Khama fails to nominate VP
*Merafhe hospitalised

Yesterday President Ian Khama kept the nation in suspense when he failed to reveal the replacement for the outgoing Vice President Mompati Merafhe. MPs expected Khama to provide his nomination but the President was nowhere to be seen even by end of Parliamentary business yesterday. Mmegi meanwhile is reliably informed that Botswana Democratic Party MPs will meet in a caucus this morning and discuss the nomination. Khama is expected to present the name of his nominee to the ruling party caucus before the party moves the process to the Parliament. 

Meanwhile the retiring vice president Merafhe was hospitalised this week, forcing a farewell party that was to be hosted for him at Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) on Monday evening, to be postponed indefinitely.Government spokesperson Jeff Ramsay confirmed that Merafhe was hospitalised on Monday, but did not have any further details at the time of going to press yesterday. It is unclear whether Merafhe is in a hospital in Gaborone, or abroad.

Merafhe announced his retirement last month to everybody's surprise, citing ill health as the main reason for his departure. He has also retired as Member of Parliament for Mahalapye West, creating an opportunity for by-elections in the near future.Khama has not yet announced his Vice President, but indications are that he will do so before lunch hour today, after cabinet has met.Merafhe is admitted to hospital at a time when two other senior civil

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servants Commander of Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Lieutenant General Tebogo Masire and Commissioner of Police Thebeyame Tsimako were handing over to their successors. Masire gave the baton to Gaolathe Galebotswe, whilst Tsimako gave the baton to Keabetswe Makgophe.

Though there wasn't much fanfare at the Sir Seretse Khama Barracks for Masire's departure, Tsimako left under a very emotional atmosphere.In his speech, he said that his 42 years of service brought him a wealth of experience and achieved a lot of goals with the support of the authorities, the community, colleagues and the public. "By this appointment you accorded me the opportunity to influence the strategic direction of this august organisation.Naturally, I knew that mine was a mammoth responsibility of ensuring that Batswana at large enjoy nothing less than a service that guarantees them safety and security. I was also fully aware that this would require good and guided leadership from me," he said.

Tsimako shared his strategy with the audience revealing that after assuming the position of Comissioner, he adopted a theme "Unity in purpose; creating a dependable value adding workforce". He said that though there were many challenges along the way, the police force is now guided by values of Botho, Integrity, Excellence and Teamwork, and the police are aware that theirs is a calling.Tsimako then handed over the Sword of Authority to his successor Makgophe who will officially assume his duties today.



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