Khama is playing a dangerous game of ethnic separation

The petulant Ian Khama resigned from the political party his father and others founded, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), and aligned himself with his newly established opposition political party, the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) because his successor, Mokgweetsi Masisi refused to play second fiddle and act as “regent” for Khama and his brother Tshekedi. Khama has now given support to opposition political parties in Botswana, which could be a poisoned chalice. Ian Khama was a bad leader and corrupt.

Mokgweetsi Masisi’s father was a founding member of the BDP. Ian Khama is using the ethnic card to undermine the incumbent president, which could be a recipe for disaster. He behaves as if Botswana belongs to BaNgwato and is his personal fiefdom. But the other members of Botswana’s royalty also played a bigger role in the establishment of Botswana as an independent state and a sovereign country while Seretse Khama was in exile.

But Ian Khama’s antics should not come as a surprise. He is not known to be a brilliant person. He was sent with the son of one of the first ministers, B.C. Thema, Matlhomola, to military colleges abroad. When they went to study abroad, Matlhomola Thema already had a BA degree from Roma in Lesotho and excelled in his studies while Ian Khama failed. When they returned to Botswana, Ian’s father Seretse Khama made Ian Commander of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) and made Matlhomola Thema Ian Khama’s subordinate.

Matlhomola Thema would have none of it and resigned. He queried Ian Khama’s appointment and remonstrated. He asked how he could be under a person who failed his military courses. Matlhomola Thema was mollified with a senior position in the Botswana Police Force. He ultimately went to work for the Department of Labour.

When former Botswana President Festus Mogae brought Ian Khama from the military to succeed him. It was because he wrongly thought Ian Khama would help stem the tide of factionalism within the ruling BDP. Wasn’t he wrong! Look what a mess Ian Khama made of the country and the BDP. I wonder what Mogae thinks about the mess he helped create by bringing Ian into politics. Mogae should have learned from the blunders Seretse Khama made by appointing his son who had failed his military courses but promoted him and passed over for promotion a well-qualified Matlhomola Thema. I wonder how Matlhomola Thema would have thought about Mogae’s move were he alive.

People like Mogae fail to learn from history and those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Masisi must rein him in. Botswana is not a Khama dynasty.

Sam Ditshego, Kagiso, South Africa.