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Khama to get own private jet

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LETLHOGILE MPUANG

• Has reached a deal with local businessman to buy his Beechcraft Bonanza

• Plane is valued at P3million

Former President Ian Khama has reached a deal with  local businessman Shadrack Baaitse, to buy his Beechcraft Bonanza airplane which is valued at approximately P3million. Sources close to the deal have informed The Botswana Gazette. Khama and his successor President Mokgweetsi Masisi have been at odds since the decision was taken to strip the former of privileges he enjoyed whilst still in office. This included the decision to bar Khama from boarding government aircraft and requiring him to follow government protocol when seeking to engage in air travel.

In a recent incident reported by this publication, the Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Carter Morupusi ordered Debswana to turn down the former President’s request for a ride to Orapa in the mining company’s private jet due to the failure to follow protocol, which includes putting in place adequate security detail. The curbing of Khama’s wings appears to have left him, a well-known connoisseur of aviation frustrated and with no choice, from his perspective, but to get his own private plane.

A fortnight ago Khama posted pictures, on his Facebook page, with residents of Chadibe which he captioned as ‘sharing a light meal and handing over donations to the needy and the elderly’. However according to close sources, Khama’s main reason for flying out to the village in the central district was to meet up with rich business man Shadrack Baaitse, popularly referred to as Shaduf, to discuss the idea of him buying one of his aircrafts.

Baaitse, a wealthy pastor who owns Prevailing Security Ltd company  is a close associate of Khama and he is reportedly willing to sell his airplane to the former head of state. The Botswana Gazette have also established that Baaitse is the unnamed individual who was reported to had offered Khama to use his plane after President Masisi refused to grant him use of the Presidential helicopter.

“Khama is buying the Beechcraft Bonanza that he was lent by Baaitse, it is typically his kind of style, a perfect bush plane; fast and can land anywhere and it’s very versatile,” revealed a source.

Baaitse has confirmed offering Khama the use of his planes, pointing out that the former President is a father of the nation and should be assisted whenever in need.

“Yes, it is true, I have been offering him to use my planes, remember that this man (Khama) has been our father and is still a father of this nation, so whenever there is a need or a situation where he needs the public to help, we should. I do not see any reason why I should not assist him,”  he said in a telephone interview with this publication.

Quizzed on whether a deal to sell one of his planes to Khama had been concluded, he denied it, but said he is open to the idea.

“No, he hasn’t shown any interest, but if he wants to buy it, I am more than willing to sell, it cost around 300 000 USD,” he concluded.

Last week, Khama told Mmegi Newspaper that he was in the process of buying his own plane and expects the purchase to be completed mid next month. He described the plane as ‘one of those small single engine fixed wing type of aircraft’, a description that fits a Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft.

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