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Khama is clean, BCP on a witch hunt- Ombudsman

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ABSOLVED: Khama

The Ombudsman, Augustine Makgonatsotlhe has cleared the outgoing President, Lt General Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama, of maladministration and abuse of office and instead accused the opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) of abuse of the Ombudsman office.

When proclaiming Khama a clean man in the Mosu inquest, in which BCP alleged that Khama used public resources to build his Mosu home, the Ombudsman suggested that BCP was witch hunting.

“In analysing the Mosu case and referring to previous reports on matters brought to our office by Botswana Congress Party, we have observed that all complaints lodged (by the party) precede general elections,” Makgonatsotlhe had stated.

In a statement released earlier today, 30 January, 2018, Makgonatsotlhe narrated that, BCP launched the use of aircraft case against Khama when he was Vice President on the 15th September 1999, about a month before general elections.

He said they lodged allegations of abuse of state media on or just before the 2009 general elections and also brought allegations about abuse of public office and resources on the 15 September 2014, a little over a month before the 2014 general elections.

In the latest case, BCP had complained that Botswana Defence Force (BDF) resources, personnel and equipment were employed to build houses and an airstrip at Khama’s Mosu home with costs to the tax payer.

The BCP had therefore, according to the statement, wanted the Ombudsman to establish if there was no abuse of office and military resources on the part of President Khama.

In his findings, the Ombudsman concluded that, “It was my determination in this matter therefore that the complaints regarding the construction of the buildings on HE the President’s plot at Mosu and the water connection thereto, lack merit and are not supported by any evidence, either provided by the complainants or discovered through the investigation hereof. They thus stand to be dismissed.”

According to the Ombudsman, the airstrip still belongs to President Khama even though it was fenced and is maintained by the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) at a cost to the nation.

This he contended, is consistent with past practice of providing safe landing facilities to sitting Head of State and “cannot amount to inequitable action nor maladministration. Neither does the associated cost of its maintenance amount to a loss or an injustice to the nation. No clear injustice to the complainants in their own right or as a political party representing the interests of members of the public has been shown to have occurred in this matter.”