Outgoing President Lieutenant General Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama was once again at his element this weekend as- in what has become synonymous with his public speeches, he humorously told his party members about his desire to be reappointed army commander.
In the past Khama’s utterances were received with mixed reactions, with BDP loyalists regarding them as a joke while his detractors feared that he may be serious about returning to the barracks.
At his farewell ceremony organized by Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) on Saturday, Khama started his speech by telling retired Lieutenant General Tebogo Masire who was giving welcome remarks that he (Khama) has spoken about his past but forgot to tell people where he will be in the next ten years. “I will be the Commander of BDF,” he announced.
Later on in his speech, Khama shifted his attention to his predecessor, former President Festus Mogae, reminding him that he was the one who took him from the BDF when he had some years left to work. “Please ask the in coming President Mokgweetsi Masisi to make sure that I am reinstated as the BDF commander on the 1st of April when he takes over as the President of the country,” he said.
In August 2015, the Office of the President (OP) announced that Khama’s statements regarding his return to BDF were a mere joke that is not to be taken seriously.
The OP made the statement after Khama told residents of Goodhope at a BDP star-rally that he needed to get assurance from his successor, Mokgweetsi Masisi, that he would appoint him BDF commander when his term comes to an end.
Despite his repeated utterances, any lingering fears on Khama’s possible return to the army appears to have since waned with his detractors in the opposition ranks pointing to the constitution as an outright prohibition. “There is no how a former President can be allowed to go back and work or head the army, he is just trying to be funny,” Vice President of Alliance for Progressives, Wynter Mmolotsi, said when reached for a comment.
During his address, Khama also pleaded with BDP members to give him his most desired farewell present by winning the 2019 general elections.
He said during his farewell itinerary across the country Batswana and BDP members have given him a lot of presents but said he was yet to get his best present which is to see BDP winning the next elections. “It is now upon you to make sure that I get that present.”