For the third time in seven years, former president Ian Khama is at the centre of a bitter feud between family members. Going back to 2014, Khama has featured in at least three publicly known family feuds.
The first feud involved the Batawana royal family, who are Khama’s blood relatives, and revealed a side of his that most didn’t know existed. In the dying moments of the 2014 campaign season, then President Khama addressed a Botswana Democratic Party political rally in the Maun West constituency. Among those in attendance was Tsitsi Moremi, the ex-wife of Batawana kgosikgolo and then area MP, Kgosi Tawana II. Khama told the rally that he was providing financial support for Tawana’s family and was also helping to raise his children – including the heir apparent, Prince Leatile. Much to the disgust of most Batawana, including BDP members themselves, the BDP national campaign manager, Alec Seametso, also heaped crass insults on Tawana.
Khama would publicly tear another family apart five years later when he had left the BDP and had founded his own party, the Botswana Patriotic Front. Once more the setting was a political rally at which he was a speaker alongside his younger brother, Tshekedi, who was seeking re-election for the Serowe North parliamentary seat. One of the featured speakers was a young man called Lesego Derek who happens to be the son of Moemedi Dijeng, who ran against Tshekedi. Derek’s plea to Serowe North’s voters was a most unusual one: “Moemedi Dijeng is my father – don’t vote for Moemedi Dijeng.” It soon became clear that at a rally headlined by a former president, Derek had been featured as a speaker for the sole purpose of attacking his father.
The latest incident happens off the election season and pits former Mass Media Complex boss and Chief Executive Officer of the SKI Khama Foundation, Mogomotsi Kaboeamodimo, against his sister.
This past week, Kaboeamodimo released an audio tape in which he attacked President Mokgweetsi Masisi for what he had said at the funeral of Kaboeamodimo’s father. In the tape, Kaboeamodimo says that he exercised restraint in deference to the solemnity of the occasion and was only hitting back after what he considered a suitable lapse of time. Two days later, however, Kaboeamodimo’s own sister rubbished what her brother had said in her own audio tape – in the process revealing what should be a family secret.
In the new tape, Kaboeamodimo’s sister says that her brother had neglected their father and that he only showed up at the family home after the old man’s death. One of the things that Kaboeamodimo’s sister alleges is that he fell out with his father after the latter, who served a long stint as a BDP councillor in Kanye, refused to align with Khama. While Khama’s level of culpability in the latter incident is decidedly low, his name still features prominently in an ugly and public family feud. There is another dynamic to this brother-sister feud: in his tape, Kaboeamodimo is keen to protect and lionise Khama. In her own, the sister does the same thing with Masisi.
All these incidents don’t augur well for a man (Khama) whose responsibility as a traditional leader is to unite not and tear apart families. With regard to the last case, it would be proper to make the same observation with regard to Masisi’s role as president if he had anything at all to do with the production of the sister’s tape.