Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

Ex-President Khama backs opposition against his successor

Former Botswana President Ian Khama last week defected the ruling Botswana Democratic Party BDP and later threw his support behind the opposition as the nation brace for the forthcoming elections. Then President Khama handed power to his then-deputy Mokgweetsi Masisi last year after serving as president of Botswana for a decade, has since quit BDP.

The policy feud with his hand-picked successor deepened, is threatening to split the party that has ruled the country since independence in 1966. Masisi, present leader of the Southern African Nation has clashed repeatedly with his former ally since he took over.He is the third person from outside the Khama political dynasty to lead Botswana since independence from Britain.Their latest disagreement was over Masisi’s decision to lift the suspension on big game hunting imposed by Khama’s government in 2014. Addressing a gathering on Saturday in the northeastern village of Serowe, where he is paramount chief, Khama said he was switching support from the BDP to opposition alliance Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) ahead of an October general election. “I came here to tell you that I am cutting ties with the BDP as I do not recognize this party anymore. It was a mistake to choose Masisi as my successor. I will now work with the opposition to make sure that the BDP loses power in October,” Khama said. Khama served the maximum two terms as president before stepping down in a scripted succession that compelled him to hand power to his deputy. In a 2014 general election, the BDP failed for the first time to score an outright majority as the country struggles to make its ailing economy less reliant on diamond sales.

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