The Office of the President has said that President Ian Khama’s comments that he intends to join the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) was made as a joke and not intended to be taken seriously. “In this respect we further note the during the political rally were the joke occurred, as well as his other speaking engagements during the same day, H.E. the President further affirmed that he in fact intends to fully retire from public office when his term as President expires in 2018,” reads the statement from the Office of the President.
Speaking at the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Star rally in Good hope last Thursday Khama said before his term expires in 2018 he would ensure that the current Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi who will be the next President guarantees him the commander position at the BDF.
Khama said he was going to make sure that the next President is flexible with his wishes to join the army again or else he “will have to fire the next President before he can even become the president and look for someone who will be flexible to his wishes.”
“My current Vice president is going to be the President of this nation in 2018, while I am still the President I am going to instruct him that when he takes over he must appoint me the Commander of the Botswana Defence Force,” said Khama.
President Khama added that he is going to make sure that before he leaves the highest office in the country he is certain that the next President will appoint him the commander of the BDF.
“I am going to make sure that I talk to him before I leave this office, if I realise that somehow he can refuse I will make sure that I remove him from the Vice Presidency position before I step down; and look for a Vice President who will appoint me the BDF commander IN 2018,” he said.
President Khama criticised other chiefs for engaging in politics just because he as the paramount chief of Bangwato is also involved in politics. He said unlike him they did not follow procedures to the latter before engaging into politics.
Khama said he did not wake up one morning and went to the Kgotla to tell his subjects that he is now pursuing politics.
The President narrated to the BDP rally how he ended up in politics. He said he became a chief whilst he was a soldier.
“Before I was the paramount chief of Bangwato I was a soldier, my father then requested from Bangwato that I continue to be a soldier and be a chief when I retire; I was happy being a soldier, I loved being a solder,” he said.
He said his journey to politics began when former President Festus Mogae approached him and requested him to leave the BDF and help him at the BDP.
“My father also wanted me to be involved in politics but I loved being a soldier the most. When Mogae approached me I consulted with Dikgosi and Dikgosana. I asked them whether it would be a wise move to join politics when I leave the BDF. I requested them to make that decision. I gave them two weeks to consult with the people and I said to them; should the people allow me to join politics I will do so but if they reject I will remain a soldier and become the paramount chief of Bangwato thereafter,” he said.
He said after two weeks Dikgosi and Dikgosana came back with an answer from Morafe allowing him to join politics.
“I did not wake up one morning and went to the kgotla and tell Morafe that I was joining politics, I asked permission from them, that is the procedure,” he said.
Khama also took a swipe at the media, saying the media will miss him after 2018.
“The media will be bored when I leave politics, this people have been after me from way back even during my time at the BDF. They made me strong; they throw stones on me but they can’t do anything to me because I have the support of the members of the BDP and I will continue to do my job,” he said.
President Khama said his party could have won all the constituencies in 2014 if the party was united.
“The only way the opposition can win the elections is when they are trafficking like they did in 2014, we will make sure that won’t happen in 2019, we are the only party that can take Botswana forward,” he said.