The Botswana government has dismissed as false allegations by the country’s former president Ian Khama that he is being persecuted by the Gaborone administration and that his life is in danger.
Acting permanent secretary for government communications John-Thomas Dipowe said the government of Botswana was seriously concerned about “what seems to be normalised fabrications and misleading narratives” in the media about President Mokgweetsi Masisi and against the state by Khama.
“Accordingly the government is of the view that it is time to sternly address former President Khama’s tirade against President Masisi, the State and the country,” Dipowe said in a statement late Tuesday.
Khama has told local and international media that he, together with some members of his family, were being persecuted by Masisi’s government and that there have been attempts on his life since he left office in 2018.
“The narrative that the former president and some of his family members are being persecuted is devoid of any truth. Equally deceptive is his outrageous claims of attempts to assassinate him,” Dipowe said.
He said the former president and three others are facing charges of illegal possession of firearms and denied Khama’s allegations that Masisi was interfering with the court case.
He said Khama’s utterances and actions “run-foul of the core values of Botswana.”
“More importantly, Khama’s diatribe is not merely offensive but threatens the integrity of this country,” the official said.
He added: “Former President Khama is alarming friends of Botswana and he is also diminishing one of Botswana’s powerful assets – democracy.”
Khama has been in self-imposed exile in neighbouring South Africa since last year.