Botswana’s former president Seretse Ian Khama gained global acclaim for upholding the tenets of democracy after stepping down gracefully at the end of his 10-year term in April. He handed over power to his deputy, Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi, to lead the diamond-rich southern African country.
It, therefore, came as a surprise when Masisi, who was handpicked by Khama to serve as his deputy and later, president, will announce during his first state-of-the-nation address that Khama has made the transition process difficult.
“Batswana are all aware that the transition from the previous administration has not been as smooth as expected,” Masisi told parliament on Monday adding that efforts to make the process smooth have been thwarted by the former president.
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He also added that the main cause of friction was Khama’s retirement entitlements and pension, reports AFP.
Khama is also reported to have been angry after Masisi’s refusal to let him use government planes and an instruction to the state media not to feature the former president.
Ian Khama openly reacted to the Masisi’s speech on Tuesday describing it as “regrettable”. He accused the government of taking actions against him, without giving further information.
It is also reported that the two leaders had fallen out over the sack of the former intelligence chief, Isaac Kgosi, who was sacked by Masisi for insubordination. Khama had attempted to employ Kgosi as his private secretary but was blocked by Masisi.
For now, Masisi has all the powers until after the general election in 2019 when he could lose them to a newly formed coalition of four main opposition parties planning to remove, for the first time since independence, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) from office.