- Khama had retired with presidential and VP plate numbers
- Some of Khama’s security detail to be modified
The state is to withdraw BX registration numbers BX 18–0001 Lexus and BX 18-0002 Mercedes Benz, traditionally the preserve of the sitting president and vice president, from former president Ian Khama.
This happens as the government is redressing the excesses of the former president who took numbers with when he retired. According to information reaching this publication, in addition to the proper presidential registration of BX 18-0001, Khama appropriated for himself continued use of BX 18-002 after he assumed the presidency, breaking established protocol and tradition.
Although coming two years later, the government seems intent on restoring order around the conduct of the former president, in the process bruising Khama’s ego further. On 7 February 2020, the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) wrote to Khama informing him of changes which will effect in March.
It is understood that the government is effecting these changes as a result of a recent assessment that was carried out on the two remaining former presidents, Khama and Festus Mogae. The other main reason is to rationalise the retirement benefits between the former statesmen. “The assessment advised us to scale down the resources for Khama,” a source said.
As a result, two security agents have been withdrawn from Khama’s detail as well as a change in the type of guns given to his guards. Khama had four guns in total, but two were withdrawn and replaced with another two of a different type.
BX 18–0001 is a Lexus while BX 18-0002 is a Mercedes Benz that were allocated to Khama as a part of his retirement package. BX 0003 is traditionally reserved for the Speaker of the National Assembly. Contacted for comment last night, DISS spokesperson Edward Robert said a statement would be released soon while Director General Peter Magosi was unavailable for comment. A bill amending the Pensions and Retirement Benefits of former presidents of Botswana was passed by Parliament in April 2017. It now allows former presidents to receive their pension and benefits even if they subsequently hold paid office, directly or indirectly.
Further, under the amended law, former presidents may have access to any mode of government transport on a case by case basis, with the permission of the sitting president. Former presidents are also entitled to permanent staff members at home and at their offices, as well as a security detail.
Observers say the developments are part of Masisi’s plan to get tough with the rather errant former president who has not shown an inclination to disrespect him. Khama had not responded at the time of going to press but those associated with him have labelled this development as part of Masisi’s continued onslaught on him.