Speculation was rife on Monday over a picture of President Ian Khama that appeared on the front page of state newspaper Daily News where he was seemingly carrying a gun under his jacket as he arrived from the inauguration of Hage Geinhob and Namibiaâ€™s 25th Independence celebrations in Windhoek.
Yesterday, however, government spokesperson, Jeff Ramsay laughed off the conjecture saying the speculators were just "too imaginative".
Responding to Mmegi enquiries, Ramsay sent an sms from Kasane where he was with the president saying: “He [Khama] does not carry a gun. You’re probably seeing his old cell phone and a carry case.”
President Khama still uses the 1998 old brick-like Nokia 5125 cell phone and normally puts it in a holster attached to his belt. Ramsay did not say why the president still uses the antique phone.
In the Daily News picture, photographed by Phenyo Moalosi of BOPA, Khama is seen at his brief welcome reception at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport shaking hands with the Police Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe while the Permanent Secretary to the President Carter Morupisi, Botswana Defence Force commander Lt. Gen Gaolathe Galebotswe and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation permanent secretary, Lapologang Lekoa are looking on.
In the picture, which was also posted in the official government Facebook page, a big bulge on Khama’s right hip appears like a 9mm pistol underneath.
On Monday some members of the armed forces also fuelled the rumours that the president was actually carrying his “piece” as they told Mmegi that Khama is the Commander In Chief and could therefore carry a gun.
Khama is the Commander in Chief and retired Lieutenant General who served 21 years in the army.