How will the Masisi-Khama conflict end?

Khama and Masisi PIC. THALEFANG CHARLES
Khama and Masisi PIC. THALEFANG CHARLES

The night that former president of Botswana, Ian Khama, escaped under the cover of darkness into neighboring South Africa, marked a loss of innocence in Botswana’s usually stable, harmless politics. Tensions between Khama and his handpicked successor, current President Mokgweetsi Masisi, has spilled out into the open. It threatens to inflame tribal malaise and destabilise a country once known for its sparkling diamonds and thriving economy.

Once considered an exception in an increasingly authoritarian continent, a democratic decline is now underway in Botswana. Khama said that in November of last year, he received a tip that threats to his life were real and he needed to leave. There had, after all, been a string of hostile behaviour towards him dating back to 2018, after handing over power. They encompass the scaling down of security personnel at his residence, the constant searches at his residence without a warrant, the detention of his twin brothers, allegations that he aided one of his brothers, a former minister, to steal a government helicopter, and the biggest accusation: allegations that he diverted $10 billion from Botswana’s central bank to City Bank accounts in New York with the help of the South African Reserve Bank.

Khama now faces 13 criminal charges, including illegally possessing fire firearms, according to court documents. The former president - and son of founding president Seretse Khama - is accused alongside four others, including a former intelligence chief, Isaac Kgosi and the current police boss, Keabetswe Makgophe. The four have been summoned to appear before a court in Gaborone, Botswana’s capital, in June, and it is unclear if Khama will show up as ordered.

Editor's Comment
Urgent call: Stop the killing!

The previous week, we had an article about a police officer shooting his wife, and turning the gun on himself, whilst he died, his wife survived and is still in the hospital.Sadly that was not the only article we carried on intimate partner killings. There was the Francistown case, where a young woman allegedly stabbed her ‘former boyfriend’ and many others which were reported throughout the week.As all the reports were coming in, a Botswana...

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