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
Shame on the Police!

According to a press statement from the police, unidentified armed men attacked on duty police officers at the station in the early hours of Tuesday.During the attack, the suspects stole 14 riffles, five pistols and an undisclosed number of ammunition.Although unconfirmed, it is alleged that the suspects were just carrying knives and axes, which they used to scare the men and women in uniform before they took them hostage to help themselves to...

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