Ian Khama

Ian Khama skips dad’s commemoration, says he fears for his life

SELF-exiled former Botswana president Ian Khama skipped the annual Sir Seretse Khama Day commemoration on Saturday, citing fears for his safety.

Sir Seretse Khama Day is a public holiday in Botswana that commemorates the first president of the country, Sir Seretse Khama. He was the father of Khama.
Khama fled Botswana in November 2021, claiming his life was in danger. He has been living in exile in South Africa ever since. Khama’s fallout with his successor, Mokgweetsi Masisi, is well documented.
In a statement released on Saturday, Khama said he had decided not to attend the Sir Seretse Khama Day commemoration because he feared for his safety. He said that he had received threats from the Botswana government and did not believe he would be safe if he returned to the country.
“I was informed by very reliable sources here in South Africa that there was a DIS-authorised plan to carry out a “hit on me” on my way to the border, and if that plan was abandoned due to high risk, then to carry out something similar at the border when I arrived and to stage a scuffle in which a fatal accident would occur against my person,” Khama said in a statement.
The Botswana government has denied that it is planning to assassinate Khama.
“President Khama must be made aware that he cannot continue to play victim on different media platforms and accuse the government of all sorts of things or ills that are unfounded,” the government has previously said.
The Sir Seretse Khama Day commemoration is a significant event in Botswana. It is a time for the country to celebrate its independence and its first president.
The 1st of July, a Remembrance Day of the birth of the late Sir Seretse Khama, has traditionally been a public holiday for the longest time in Botswana. However, in 2020, President Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi decided to elevate Sir Seretse Khama Day with a befitting honour.
His predecessor accused him of “milking the name and legacy” of his father.
“And today, the 1st of July, after an unprecedented build-up to the day through government statements and media, there will be insincere tributes paid by Masisi to Sir Seretse, milking his name and legacy in the hope of reaping some benefit from someone he does not actually respect. And at the same time, whilst doing so, engages in the persecution of Sir Seretse’s family and engaging in blatant hypocrisy by trying to prevent similar commemoration activities in Serowe, my father’s home,” claimed Ian Khama.

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