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Moswaane Defends Khama’s Speech At Spouse's Burial

CHAKALISA DUBE
Moswaane Defends Khama’s Speech At Spouse's Burial
FRANCISTOWN: Francistown West Member of Parliament, Ignatius Moswaane says former president Ian Khama’s political statements at the funeral of his spouse, Priscilla Moswaane over the weekend, did not surprise him.

Moswaane, who is currently serving suspension from the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), added that to the best of his interpretation, the political statements made by Khama were not a veiled jab directed at the neither ruling party nor government as many had insinuated.

“Khama was speaking at the burial of a political warrior. When you bury [the wife of] a political warrior you should expect political statements. What Khama said did not surprise me. There is nothing wrong with what he said. After all we have different ways of comforting others. That was his way of comforting me and my family. We are happy with that,” Moswaane maintained yesterday in an interview.

He defended Khama’s utterances at the funeral where the latter could not resist making the controversial statements. The former president, who was amongst the key speakers at the funeral, dedicated a large chunk of his speech to firing what appeared to be veiled salvos at the BDP government. Khama is the patron of Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), a party he helped form last year after falling out with the ruling party, particularly its leader and his successor, President Mokgweetsi Masisi.Khama also issued blistering criticism at the Chinese for what he termed communist ‘dictatorship’, but it is his veiled attack against the BDP government that attracted much of the public’s attention.  “They have tried to silence you, by sending police to you and not launching you (last year). Now they want to introduce a law that curbs floor-crossing. The proposed law is targeting you,” Khama said. Moswaane was not timely launched ahead of the 2019 General Election owing to his internal squabbles with the ruling party.

Khama, who has often been critical of the Masisi-led administration added in his address: “You are not a George Floyd, who the police officers knelt on his neck until he died. Don’t allow these people to do that to you (silence him by kneeling on his neck). Continue talking. You are talking for all of us. We need people like you in this country, especially at this time.”

Floyd was an African-American man killed during an

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arrest after allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill in Minneapolis, US. A white police officer, Derek Chauvin, put his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds until he lost consciousness and was confirmed dead at the hospital.

The BDP has in the past been accused of doing all it can to silence its members, amongst them Moswaane, who publicly criticise it in public. Moswaane recently labelled the BDP government as corrupt, something that angered the ruling party.

Khama added that the death of Moswaane’s wife should strengthen his resolve in his fight against corruption and other unjust actions by the government of the day.

Khama added that it was interesting that the person who intended bringing the floor-crossing Bill to Parliament was one who has changed parties on a number of occasions.

The Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng is soon set to table a draft Bill in Parliament, which is intended to prohibit floor-crossing of elected Members of Parliament. 

“In context, what Khama was purely doing was to encourage me to continue enlightening Batswana about corruption, which is the reason why there is high unemployment in the country. I would like to thank all the people from the political arena including President Masisi who offered me their condolences and support following the death of my wife,” Moswaane added. 

Khama’s remarks also fuelled reports that Moswaane was on the verge of joining the BPF. For sometime, the legislator has been linked with the BPF. However, Moswaane said people are entitled to their own opinions.  

Moswaane is currently serving a 60-day suspension from the ruling party pending disciplinary action. He is accused of speaking against the BDP-led government in public.

Khama and Moswaane have enjoyed good relations since the former president stepped down. While he was still president Khama did not see eye-to-eye with Moswaane.

Khama himself often accused Moswaane of making cynical comments about the ruling party. Then as president, he said Moswaane’s penchant for making cynical remarks about the BDP undermined the party’s values. On several occasions he threatened to take disciplinary action against the outspoken legislator.



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