The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has hit back against Former President Ian Khama who has accused the BDP and President Mokgweetsi Masisi of using state organs to fight political battles. The BDP says Khama must come back to prove his innocence.
Khama in an interview with MmegiOnline ealier this week said that his warrant is only because he is a threat to the BDP and Masisi’s chances of getting re-elected. “This has nothing to do with anything illegal I have done because I never have . It is only about one thing . And that is to remove me from being a threat to masisi and his re-election," Khama told this publication then.
Now the BDP has strong words against their former leader too. BDP spokesperson, Kagelelo Banks Kentse, responded: “It is our view that the rule of law must be respected and that no one is above the law. If the man is innocent then he must proof his innocence in court. It cannot be business as usual when senior members of society specifically a former president does not respect the courts, he has actually presided over. We only have one judiciary and it remains our hope for a just system.”
Pressed further to comment on the former head of state's comments that this is a political witch hunt orchestrated by the BDP and its leaders, Kentse dismissed this and said: “The BDP does not see Khama as a threat. The BDP does not run the courts nor the prosecuting authority, he knows better, he has been there.”
“Khama has won some cases from the very same courts against government, who had influenced the courts? If he is innocent with the charges brought against him, he must simply go and account in a court of law and close the matter,” Kentse continued.
Khama was slapped with a warrant of arrest by the regional Magistrate court late last week.
The former president has been charged, along with other high profile names, with 14 criminal charges ranging from unlawful possession of a firearm to receiving stolen property.
According to a warrant of arrest issued by the Acting Regional Magistrate, Mareledi Dipate, Khama is to be apprehended on sight and brought before the Broadhurst Magistrate Court. Khama who is the second accused in the matter has never appeared before court since he was charged in April. When Khama’s warrant was issued his co-accused being former spy Chief Isaac Kgosi, suspended police commissioner Keabetswe Makgophe and Victor Paledi were all absent. The trio, however have not missed any court appearance since they were charged alongside Khama. According to the state there are reasonable grounds of suspicion against Khama that he did on or about March 3, 2016 commit the crime of unlawful possession of firearms contrary to section 9(1) of the Arm and Ammunition Act and other offences as detailed in the charge sheet. Other charges include procuring the registration of a firearm by false pretence, aiding and abetting unlawful possession of a firearm and ownership of a firearm not registered in accordance with the Arms and Ammunition Act of 2018. Khama is to be arrested and answer to the said charges and be further dealt with according to the law. Before the warrant of arrest the State had indicated that it would like to extradite former president Khama into the country to face criminal charges.
Khama’s lawyer, Victor Ramalepa, however has also told this publication that they will be challenging the warrant of arrest.
This is a developing story.