Following allegations by opposition coalition for Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader Duma Boko that there are people out to kill him ahead of this year’s general election, President Ian Khama has finally broken his silence and vehemently dispelled the reports.
Launching the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Tati East parliamentary candidate Samson Moyo Guma over the weekend, Khama unequivocally denied that he intended to use the controversial Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) to assassinate his political opponent.
On the back of unsubstantiated media reports insinuating that the Botswana Head of State and president of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) had launched an overt crusade to assassinate his political rivals using the infamous DIS, Khama told his audience that the reports were false.
He vehemently denied reports that the DIS had a hit list under his instruction to eliminate his political opponents.
The president’s disassociation from the alleged assassination reports follows media reports by Boko’s associate Philip Moshoke that they had gathered intelligence information that Khama in cahoots with the DIS wanted to eliminate Boko and other political opponents.
The assassination reports were also echoed by retired Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Major General Pius Mokgware who is also a UDC Parliamentary candidate for Gabane ÔÇôMankgodi constituency. Mokgware fell out with Khama after he was unceremoniously sacked from the army under controversial circumstances that saw him launching a successful civil suit.
The matter was settled out of court with Mokgware being paid undisclosed millions of Pula in settlement of the court case.
“No one, even the former Presidents of Botswana ever attempted to eliminate any of the opposition party leaders or anyone in the country. I cannot waste government funds to assassinate opposition leaders because they are not even a threat to me. I would rather kill a scorpion or a snake because they can be a threat to my life not opposition leaders. I think the opposition leaders who are spreading these lies are the ones who are harboring such ill motives,” said Khama.
He said that unlike other countries in Africa, Botswana is founded on democratic principles.
Khama further explained that Botswana should consider itself lucky because other countries do not allow opposition parties, with dissenters being jailed without trial.
He fired a salvo at Boko saying that he is out to tarnish his image because he is frustrated that he will not win the upcoming elections.
“Boko and his allies are frustrated because the future of their party is bleak and will not win the upcoming election. It is disappointing for people to spread rumours that I want to assassinate them because it tarnishes both my image and the image of Botswana on the international political arena. It shows these people are not patriotic,” he said.
Khama also dismissed reports that there was a plot that when parliament resumes in July, a motion of no confidence will be passed on defected Tonota south and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Pono Moatlhodi as well his principal Margaret Nasha who recently published a book that painted Khama and the ruling party in bad light describing Khama’s rule as authoritarian.
After losing the BDP primaries, Moatlhodi defected to the opposition Botswana National Front (BNF) which is a member of the UDC coalition. Nasha has indicated that she will be seeking re-election as Speaker of the National Assembly. She will do battle with former High Commissioner to Zimbabwe Gladys Kokorwe who retired from politics in 2009.
“The Speaker and Deputy Speaker were elected by parliament and we do not harbor any intention of removing them from their positions until their term lapses. Such reports are not true,” said Khama.
On a different note, Khama attacked disgruntled BDP primary elections losers who defected to after losing primaries. He said that politics is a game of numbers and if one loses elections, they should accept defeat.
“Politics is not a permanent and pensionable job. One has to acknowledge defeat and continue to work for the party. We have cabinet ministers and Members of Parliament who lost elections and accepted defeat. Oliphant Mfa was an assistant minister and Member of Parliament for Sebina/ Gweta. He lost elections and he never had any qualms. He is still a staunch member of the BDP,” he said.
He further slammed the opposition parties saying that they do not have the interests of Batswana at heart. He accused the opposition parties over their failure to prove that they can lead Batswana and in frustration resorted to insulting BDP members.
“The opposition parties are using politics as a license to insult us and it clearly shows that they do not have leadership qualities to rule this country,” he said.
Khama said when he ascended to the presidency in 2008 the country already engulfed with global economic recession. The president applauded his BDP government as it managed to keep the economy afloat despite the recession.
“This shows that BDP is a capable party and you should continue to elect it into power,” Khama implored his audience.
In conclusion Khama urged Tati East constituents to re-elect Guma as he is a capable individual.
Guma pleaded with the democrats to desist from petty politics and internal fights. He said they should focus on building the party. He said that Botswana like any other country in the world has its own challenges and it is upon the residents of Tati East to work together to uplift themselves from abject poverty.
“I accept that as a Member of Parliament for Tati East, we do have our own challenges but it is important that we work together in combating these challenges. Government has played its part and injected funds to develop our constituency. It is therefore incumbent upon us to also play an active role in developing our constituency,” said Guma.
The launch attracted hordes of BDP members including party top brass like former cabinet minister and prominent businessman David Magang as well as party treasurer Satar Dada and his deputy Thapelo Olopeng who defeated Moatlhodi in the primaries.
Also in attendance was former legislator and assistant minster Oliphant Mfa as well as secretary general Mpho Balopi together with other prominent democrats and the party’s parliamentary hopefuls.