Botswana court summons ex-president over firearms

GABORONE— A court in Botswana has summoned former President Ian Khama to appear before it on multiple criminal charges, including possession of firearms.

The “unprecedented” charge sheet showed that Khama was accused alongside ex-intelligence chief Isaac Kgosi, former police commissioner Keabetswe Makgophe and ex-deputy permanent secretary Bruno Paledi ranging from illegal acquisition, unlawful possession and theft of firearms.

In Botswana, the illegal possession of guns could lead to a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Khama previously told South Africa’s Daily Maverick newspaper that he keeps his hunting rifles, shotguns and “a few handguns” collected over three decades at his home.

Some of these belonged to his official and private security detail, he was quoted as saying.

It is unlikely that Khama will appear in court in person.

Khama – the son of Botswana’s founding President Seretse Khama – went into self-imposed exile in South Africa in November 2021.

At the time, he denied that he was fleeing Botswana but he hasn’t returned to the country since.

Khama was president from 2008 to 2018.

He fell out with his handpicked successor, Mokgweetsi Masisi, whom he accused of authoritarianism. Masisi was the vice-president under Khama, from 2014 to 2018.

The summons against the former president come ahead of President Masisi’s planned meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria on Friday.