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What's this Khama's recurring talk of "becoming BDF Commander"?

Khama on a quadbike PIC. THALEFANG CHARLES
FRANCISTOWN: No one really knows what President Ian Khama plans to do post his presidency at the end of this month. But the outgoing president keeps talking about "going back to the army".

Probably people in Khama’s inner circle (a very small clique) know what he will do after his term as the President of Botswana comes to an end. 

On Saturday, when officially opening the Francistown-Tonota dual carriage way and the Thapama interchange road popularly known as ‘Spaghetti’, Khama repeated the assertion that he is going to be the next commander of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) on April 1, 2018.

Khama wittingly or unwittingly said so when thanking the BDF band for serenading the multitudes of people who came to the official opening of the Spaghetti with nice music.

It is hard to think that Khama said that statement in jest or not.

He said: “Le lona ba BDF band le itse gore ka April 1, ke ya go nna rra masole gape (BDF band members should know that on April 1, I will the army commander again).”

There may be credence in what Khama said because it was not the first time that Khama said he is going to be the commander of the army again.

As of recent Khama repeated the same claim in Tonota during his farewell tour to bid the people of Tonota goodbye.

He said: “…That’s why ke sena dimpa ka gore ke ipaakanyetsa go nna lesole. Kana ka nako ya ga Rre Mogae a nkopa gore ke joine polotiki, ke ne ke santse ke rata go nna lesole.  So ke ya go bua le Mokgweetsi Masisi gore ka April 1, a nappointe BDF commander (…I don’t have a big tummy because I am preparing to become a soldier. When former president Festus Mogae asked me to join politics, I did not want to because I still loved being a soldier. So I am going to talk to Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi to appoint me as the BDF commander again on April 1).”

Talk that Khama was

going to lead the army again after his presidency ends were reignited last year after the all-party caucus agreed that former presidents could be employed in any capacity they so wished. 

Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration (MOPAGPA) Eric Molale made a presentation proposing that all former presidents could be allowed to seek employment.

According to a source, Molale told the MPs that this was because some people leave the presidency when they are still fit to work.

President Khama is the youngest of all outgoing presidents, as he will exit at 65 years. All legislators are said to have agreed with the move and an agreement was reached to take it to Parliament.

Khama has in the past jokingly stated that he would like to rejoin the army. In fact, Khama has never totally detached himself from the BDF, which he was part of from inception.

In 2015, Khama said he would be the next BDF commander after his presidential term comes to an end.

He had said so when addressing a political rally in Goodhope.  He said he would make sure that Masisi agrees to the idea before he succeeds him as President.

“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 said.

If what Khama said is not a joke, it will spell the end of the current commander of the BDF Lieutenant General Placid Segokgo who was appointed the army’s leader on September 2, 2016.

Also, Khama’s appointment as the commander of the BDF will be a first major public appointment for incoming President Masisi.




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