Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) patron, Ian Khama could be banned from taking part in active politics ahead of 2024 general election after Cabinet recently resolved through a Cabinet White Paper that retired Presidents should not participate in active politics.
The decision was gleaned from snippets of the Cabinet White Paper that will be presented for adoption by the upcoming February Budget session of Parliament, a development which observers say is clearly targeting Khama.
Cabinet was appointed and is led by Khama’s immediate successor President Mokgweetsi Masisi.
Cabinet has unanimously agreed that a former President who has served two terms (10 years) should not take part in active politics upon retirement and must not be eligible for re-election in any political office.
Political analyst, Kitso Morekisi said the proposal by the Cabinet although it is progressive as is the case with some African countries that retired president should not return to active politics, in the case of Botswana amid president Mokgweetsi Masisi and Khama feud, it will seem as a witch-hunt on the latter.
“We are going to general elections as the country and stakes are high across the political divide. If the cabinet recommendation gets green light, it means that Khama would no longer be associated with the BPF politics. That will be a killer blow for BPF and Khama’s political interests to large extent,” he added.
He said there should be a law that is gazette and address the issue of retired presidents and active politics, adding that Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) due to its majority in Parliament will pass it.
Khama during 2019 general elections stepped a massively campaigned against his former party BDP particularly in central district constituencies, a move that saw BPF winning all Serowe constituencies.
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) also scored important victory in BDP stronghold constituencies such as Shoshong, Mahalapye, Palapye and Sefhare/ Ramokgonami riding on Khama’s popularity as the Kgosikgolo of GaMmangwato territory. BPF have since appointed him as its 2024 campaign manager.
Kenya/ Zambia comparison
Kenya and Zambia are some of the jurisdictions that have legal pieces that prohibits retired presidents from politics. Retired presidents who politics are bound to lose their retirement benefits in these states.
For example, Kenya’s Presidential Retirement Benefits Act 2003 stipulates that a retired President shall not hold office in any political party for more than six months after ceasing to hold office as President.”
The law also provides that retired presidents in Kenya are entitled to pension, gratuity, allowances, and other services including security.
From Zambian perspective, the retired presidents are guided by the Former President Act and it provides that a retirement benefit will be withdrawn for a retired president who return to active politics.
In November last year, Zambian media outlets reported that the government withdrawn the benefits of former president Edgar Lungu by invoking section five (5) of the Benefits of Former Presidents Act, which outlines the circumstances under which a former president benefits and privileges can be withdrawn.
Right of Reply
Although Khama’s spokesperson, Mogomotsi Kaboeamodimo had confirmed that he had a response on the development from his boss, he could not share it at the time of going to print due to connectivity challenges as he was travelling from South Africa at the time of going to print. Kaboeamodimo is the Chief Executive Officer of SKI Foundation, Khama’s philanthropic organization.
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