- “I respected the constitution during my term.”
- “African countries Presidents are power hungry.
- That’s not true- Political commentators
FRANCISTOWN: In a review of his own term in office, outgoing President of Botswana, Ian Khama, has concluded that he stands head and shoulders above African presidents who have little regard for “the rule of law”.
“Everyone has to observe and respect the rule of law regardless of the status and President has to set an example that the constitution is respected and followed even if it does not suit you. Despite all these countries being led by their constitution it is very disappointing to see some presidents amending constitution when their terms elapse in order to prolong their presidency just for their own benefit. Do these people think that they are the only one capable of being presidents?” Khama called out his authoritarian counterparts.
Although Khama did not want to single out any presidents, he said Africa’s political instability, particularly in Southern Africa, was due to power hungry leaders. “This is one of the tricks that they always play because they are afraid to lose power. Others will amend the constitution just to increase their terms. These countries have a lot of suffering created by these presidents who do not want to step down when their term elapses. These kinds of presidents should take a leaf from me because during my tenure I made sure I respected the constitution,” he said.
Some of the African countries that have experienced leadership crises include among others the neighbouring Zimbabwe, Gambia as well as Lesotho.
Retired Judge Mpapi Phumaphi concurred. “Unlike other African countries Presidents Khama did not fail to abide by the constitution. Therefore, he should be commended for this,” he said.
University of Botswana (UB) Political Science Lecturer Leonard Sesa however dismissed the suggestion saying no African president is perfect when it comes to constitutional matters. “Khama should say he tried by all means to abide by the constitution because there are a lot of policies the nation feels that he implemented without consultation. So he cannot claim to be perfect in abiding by the constitution,” he said.