The Minister of Defense, Justice and Security, Ramadeluka Seretse, has dismissed allegations that he got favourable treatment from President Ian Khama because they are cousins.
Khama’s decision to re-appoint Seretse, a few hours after he was acquitted of corruption charges, raised complaints that the President was favouring his cousin.
“What people do not know about President Khama is that he will never treat somebody differently just because they are a cousin. Khama will not do things differently for you because you are related to him. I know from personal experience, especially from our days at the BDF. He does not even treat his brothers differently, what more of a cousin?” said Seretse.
Speaking for the first time since he was reappointed, Seretse who sounded jovial, said before he was reappointed the President asked him if he would not want to come back.
“I told him coming back was not my issue, and that if he wanted to appoint me I would come in,” he said.
Seretse said he reminded the President that he had resigned from cabinet because he wanted to clear his name, to which the President replied:
“Now that you have cleared your name I want you back in.”
By the time the conversation reached that point, Seretse said he felt he did not have to “play hard to get with the president”.
“In life, you must know when to give in and not think too much of yourself,” he said.
On the day of his swearing in, Seretse said he felt exactly the same way as he did when he was first appointed to cabinet by former President Festus Mogae.
“I was dumbfounded.”
After the swearing in, the President talked about meeting him to make clear what his expectations were. Answering a question on what he felt about politics after going through a much publicized court case, he said he believed he was always going to be a politician, as he had received the inspiration from his father, Lenyeletse Seretse, who was Vice President before he died in the 1980s.
“I was not forced into politics,” he said.
He says he remembers as a small boy attending a political rally in Francistown which was addressed by Phillip Matante, the opposition firebrand of the 1960s.
“Matante attacked my father. But I was surprised to see my father laughing with Matante after the rally. I asked my friend why my father treated Matante like a friend when it was clear that he didn’t like him,” he said.
The older Seretse replied by telling the son that Matante was a good man who just happened to be on the other side of politics.
“Since then, I recorded that politics is itself not inherently bad. There are bad politicians. But politics is good. It’s about helping other people.”