"Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke."
- Will Rogers
Linda Lingle, the American politician once submitted that ‘politicians all too often think about the next election. Statesmen think about the next generation.’
In his decision to support the opposition candidate against his successor and ruling party – under which he became governor for 10 years, is ex-Botswana president, Ian Khama being a politician or a statesman?
The former president of Botswana, Ian Khama who served as the fourth President of the country from 1 April 2008 to 1 April 2018 has told his supporters that he would be throwing his weight and supporting the opposition party against the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and his successor, in the country’s forthcoming elections.
The news came as a shock to many as it is not certain the reason for the fall out between Ian Khama and the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
You will recall that Khama handed power to his then-deputy Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi last year after serving as president of the diamond-rich southern African nation for a decade.
After his handover, however, Ian Khama announced that he was quitting the BDP.
Many critics believe that the fall-out between Khama and the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is as a result of a policy feud which prevented him from hand-picking a successor. The issue is so severe that it is threatening the sovereignty of the great party that has ruled the country since its independence in 1966.
Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi, who is only the third person from outside the Khama political dynasty to lead Botswana since independence from Britain, has clashed repeatedly with his former ally since he took over.
Their latest disagreement was over Masisi’s decision to lift the suspension on big game hunting imposed by Khama’s government in 2014.
Khama told a gathering on Saturday in the northeastern village of Serowe, where he is paramount chief, 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.
Is Ian Khama a politician or a statesman?
Header Image Credit: Daily Maverick