Khama Has Nothing To Fear In Botswana – Masisi

  • President says it is odd that Khama can suspect that there is a plot to poison him
  • Asserts his govt treats Khama cordially and recently renewed his diplomatic passport
  • Khama says it is insensitive of Masisi to “speak comically about assassination attempts”
  • SKI Foundation characterises Masisi as “habitually dishonest”


President Mokgweetsi Masisi has once again dismissed of a government plot to assassinate former president Ian Khama if he returned to the country following Khama’s persistent claims to that effect in South African media.

Khama is in self-imposed exile and currently lives in Eswatini but President Masisi has emphasised that the former president has “nothing to fear” in Botswana.

He said in response to a specific question in a televised segment of France24’s Tete A Tete programme that was published yesterday (Tuesday).

Khama’s diplomatic passport renewed 

In the interview, Masisi stated that his government remains cordial in how it relates to Khama and cited the recent renewal of his diplomatic passport as an illustration of this.

“He has nothing to fear,” he said. “We just renewed his diplomatic passport a few weeks ago. All of his entitlements, the man gets. And for consistency’s sake, look at the arguments he has been using to explain himself.

“There has been a litany of inconsistencies for his reasons for leaving. For the allegations he makes against myself, my government, my party; it’s inconsistency after inconsistency.

Claims of poisoning plot shocking 

“We are said to be the worst cheats at elections (but) there’s no change in the way elections are held since the time when he was president.”

Masisi stated that he finds it odd that Khama could suspect that there is a plot to poison him. “It’s shocking. (But) first let me make a correction – he is not in South Africa because I think they herded him out. He is in Eswatini right now. Yes, indeed (apparently) he is alleged to have said he is afraid of being poisoned.

“He seems to be an expert. You must ask him. He seems to know a lot about poisoning. All those people who have been killed in Botswana that I know of, that I have heard about have been through knife attacks or weapons such as guns.

“I suspect he is the (poisoning) expert”

“Poisoning is rather new. I don’t know where it comes from because there is nobody that I know of who has an interest in his dying. I don’t know of anyone who has a capacity to poison but he is talking a lot about poisoning in graphic detail. I suspect he is the expert.”

Reached for comment, Khama responded in a statement shared exclusively with The Botswana Gazette via the CEO of SKI Foundation, Mogomotsi Kaboeamodimo. 

“We find the remarks and innuendo uttered by President Mokgweetsi Masisi in Paris recently in a televised interview offensive and misleading and therefore cannot let him go unchallenged,” he said.

“It is common knowledge that the President is habitually dishonest and fond of using profanities to disparage and speak falsehoods whenever he is asked about issues involving (former) president Khama.

“Khama still lives in South Africa” 

“This is despite facts on record, including affirmation of the truth by courts of law in Botswana. It is a matter of public record that General Khama lives in South Africa since leaving Botswana in 2021.

“As we have previously communicated, his departure from Botswana was initially a private mission soon after which evidence of attempts on his life surfaced, necessitating his continued stay in South Africa up to now.

“This fact is known even by the United Nations, which is why the UN Special Rapporteur subsequently demanded answers from the Government of Botswana who, for a long time could not provide answers to the UN.

Irresponsible and insensitive 

“It is irresponsible and insensitive of President Masisi to find amusement in speaking comically about assassination attempts.

“Former president Khama reported poisoning attempts on him that any self-respecting government would have investigated promptly and thoroughly.

“We have no doubt that the truth on this matter will come out in the end, as has the truth about the P100 billion theft fabrication and that of innocent citizens who were falsely accused of possession of unlicensed and unregistered weapons.”

Travels frequently

“It is equally mischievous of President Masisi to allege that General Khama has been taken out of South Africa to live in another country.

“The correct fact is that the former president travels frequently around the world where he is recognised and invited for his experiences and legacy of accomplishments, something that President Masisi appears to be distressed over.”

“The President has no moral authority to claim that his government is approaching the next elections within the confines of the law.

Wasteful globetrotting 

We put it to him that his rule of law must be different from the one written in the Laws of Botswana as his government flouts the law with impunity on many occasions.

“Civil society has raised alarm over several such disgraces, including the voter registration process.”

“Given the foregoing, we call on President Masisi to refrain from careless talk and from wasteful globetrotting to focus his energies and privilege of authority on urgent public needs such as healthcare, drought and the cost of living to mention but a few.”