Botswanan former president Ian Khama has accused his chosen successor of becoming an autocrat and threatening the country’s reputation as a beacon of stability in Africa.
Khama, 66, last week left the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in a culmination of a dramatic fall-out with President Mokgweetsi Masisi, who took office last year.
Khama told AFP that he took the “very painful” decision to leave the BDP because of the “immature and arrogant” attitude of Masisi’s government.
“The person who I nominated to be my successor, as soon as he took office became very autocratic, very intolerant and it has led to a decline in the democratic credentials that we have a reputation for,” Khama said in a telephone interview.
After serving the constitutional maximum of ten years in office, Khama handed power in April 2018 to Masisi, who was then his deputy.
Khama stepped down 18 months before elections, allowing Masisi to settle into the role and start campaigning.
But the two leaders have clashed so badly that Khama last weekend quit the party and declared he would campaign against it in the October elections.
Khama — whose father Sir Seretse Khama co-founded the BDP in 1962 — said he was not joining another party but would back some opposition parliamentary candidates.
Election in the balance?
He said some senior BDP officials fear the party may be “heading for an election defeat” because they believe Masisi “has now become a liability”.
Since coming to office, Masisi changed several key policies adopted by Khama — the most high-profile being the lifting of the wildlife sports hunting ban imposed in 2014.
“To me, it’s so sad and extremely painful that all these years’ work to build up to what we had achieved is being put in reverse,” said Khama, adding Masisi never previously objected to the ban.
“We have had stability for many years, we have had wildlife for many years, we have been trying to play our part as a responsible member of the international community in fostering democracy.
“When you see what is happening, putting all the hard work into reverse, it is unacceptable.”
Khama accused Masisi of cracking down on dissent in Botswana.
“Anybody who is seen as an opponent in the party or opposition parties — there is this use of state security organs to go after them and harass people,” he said.
“Those are things we have never seen in Botswana and one just cringes. It’s that bad.”
“I have seen that happen in other countries,” he added, warning the country would “gradually start having a serious deficit in democracy.”
Masisi and the BDP have not publicly responded to Khama’s criticisms.
“It was a very painful decision, a very hard one and I gave a lot of thought to it,” the former leader said about leaving the party, which has ruled Botswana since independence from Britain in 1966 but lost popularity under Khama’s rule.
When in office, Khama was renowned for his straight talking — publicly criticising US President Donald Trump and then-president Robert Mugabe in neighbouring Zimbabwe.
He said he was determined to be equally frank about Masisi.
“When he was my vice president… he never displayed any of these issues we are now seeing, (he was) always very intelligent, very supportive of all these policies that he is now reversing.”
Botswana last week attracted world headlines over Masisi’s decision to end the hunting ban.
The government said elephant hunting would help control the booming population which it said was causing serious damage to farmers’ livelihoods.
Botswana has the world’s largest elephant population with more than 135,000 roaming freely in its unfenced parks and wide open spaces.
Malawi opposition leader takes MP seat despite challenging presidential vote
The 64-year-old leader of the Malawi Congress Party, MCP, was sworn in at the Parliament Building on Monday, together with 60 others
Malawi opposition chief, Lazarus Chakwera, has been sworn in as a member of the country’s parliament. The swearing in took place in the capital Lilongwe following the May 21 elections, local media in Malawi reported on Monday.
The 64-year-old leader of the Malawi Congress Party, MCP, was sworn in at the Parliament Building on Monday, together with 60 others, while other lawmakers were scheduled to be sworn in today.
According to The Nation newspaper, Chakwera “took his oath of allegiance and office … amid cheers from scores of party supporters who accompanied him.”
Chakwera’s party, the MCP is currently challenging the official result of the presidential vote which saw incumbent Peter Mutharika win a second and final term in office whiles Chakwera came second.
The Malawian electoral system make provision for persons contesting for presidency and vice presidency to simultaneously contest for parliamentary seats.
On the other hand, the incumbent vice president Saulos Chilima, who also contested in the presidential election, lost his parliamentary bid.
Morsi’s death: Timeline of events in Egypt since 2011 post-Mubarak era
Key dates in Egypt since the Tahrir Square-led revolt known which drove Hosni Mubarak out of power and events that led to Morsi’s death
Former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi was buried in Cairo Tuesday, a day after he died following his collapse in court and nearly six years since his ouster by now President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, leaving the country in a leadership crisis as the incumbent plans perpetuity.
Here are key dates in Egypt since the Tahrir Square-led revolt known as the ‘January 25 revolution’ which drove Morsi’s predecessor Hosni Mubarak from power in February 2011.
On January 25, 2011, thousands of Egyptians, inspired by the Tunisian revolt that toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, protest in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt demanding longtime dictator Mubarak’s overthrow.
On February 11, after days of vast protests centred in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, Mubarak’s newly appointed vice president Omar Suleiman announces that the president has resigned and the army is in charge.
A crackdown on the protests has left at least 850 dead.
Islamist parties win a majority of seats at parliamentary elections between November 2011 and January 2012.
On June 30, 2012, Morsi, a senior Muslim Brotherhood leader, wins 51.7 percent of the vote to become Egypt’s first civilian, democratically elected president. He is also the first Islamist to head the country.
Egypt’s military rulers dissolve parliament in June. In August, Morsi dismisses military chief Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and replaces him with Sisi, in a purge of top brass.
On July 3, 2013, following massive protests against Morsi’s divisive rule, the military led by Sisi overthrows Morsi and detains him. Morsi denounces a coup and calls on his supporters to defend his legitimacy.
On August 14, police disperse two pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo, killing about 700 people in clashes, according to official figures.
The government names the Muslim Brotherhood a “terrorist organisation” in December.
Sisi is elected president with 96.9 percent of the vote in May 2014. His election comes after the approval of a new constitution bolstering the military’s powers.
In late 2015 a new parliament is elected, packed with Sisi supporters.
Sisi presides over a fierce clampdown. Hundreds of suspected Islamists are sentenced to death or life in prison in mass trials slammed by rights groups.
Secular opposition activists are also jailed.
Local and international rights groups accuse the regime of torture, forced disappearances, summary executions and repression of dissent.
The authorities deny the accusations, pointing to the need for stability and the fight against terrorism.
The country also witnesses deadly attacks, perpetrated mainly by the Islamic State group, which kills hundreds of police officers and soldiers in attacks centred on the Sinai peninsula.
On October 31, 2015, a Russian airliner carrying tourists from an Egyptian beach resort explodes after taking off, killing all 224 people on board. IS says it had planted a bomb on the plane.
On November 24, 2017, a suspected IS attack on a mosque in the Sinai leaves more than 300 dead.
More than 100 die in attacks on Christians, also claimed by the group.
In February 2018, the army launches a vast “anti-terrorist” operation.
Backing for Sisi
In February 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin travels to Cairo for the first time in a decade and signs a deal to build the first Egyptian nuclear power plant.
In March 2015, the Obama administration lifts a partial freeze on military assistance decided after Morsi’s overthrow.
King Salman of Saudi Arabia visits Egypt in April 2016.
In April 2017, US President Donald Trump praises Sisi as the Egyptian leader visits Washington. Sisi is hosted at the White House for a second time in April 2019.
In October 2018, Sisi visits Paris, where he receives strong support from President Emmanuel Macron, who in turn visits Egypt the following January.
In March 2018, Sisi is re-elected with 97.08 percent of the vote. His only opponent is one of his supporters.
In April 2019, a controversial constitutional revision allowing the extension of Sisi’s presidency and strengthening his powers is approved by referendum.
On June 17, 2019, Morsi collapses in court during a retrial over charges of collaborating with foreign powers and militant groups.
He arrives at hospital dead, according to the attorney general’s office.
Rights groups say the Islamist was denied medical treatment in detention and demand an investigation.
UN wants government to end terrorist bombings in northeast Nigeria
“This is another terribly sad day for civilians in northeast Nigeria and for the humanitarians who are working to help them”
The United Nations has condemned the multiple suicide bombings in the northeast of the country that killed 30 people, including a community volunteer and injured 40 others.
UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon said in a statement in Abuja on Monday that the government must deploy more security solutions to end the spate of terrorist bombings in that part of the country.
“This is another terribly sad day for civilians in northeast Nigeria and for the humanitarians who are working to help them,” Kallon said in the statement.
“The UN and its partners deplore these abhorrent acts of violence and call for those responsible for these attacks to be swiftly brought to justice,” he said.
“Our deepest condolences go to the families of the victims in Konduga,” the UN chief said. “We hope all those injured can access the urgent medical attention they require and wish them a full recovery.”
Three bombers detonated their explosives outside a hall in Konduga, 38 kilometres (24 miles) from the Borno state capital Maiduguri, where football fans were watching a match on TV on Sunday evening.
Although no group has claimed responsibility, the attack bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, which is seeking to impose a hardline Islamic law in Nigeria’s mainly-Muslim north.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari condemned “the heinous acts”, releasing a statement urging security agents to track down the perpetrators and devise strategies to prevent a recurrence.
Buhari, a 76-year-old retired general, who was re-elected in February, is facing mounting demands to improve security.
The last suicide attack was in April carried out by two female suicide bombers outside the garrison town of Monguno, killing a soldier and a vigilante.
Konduga has been repeatedly targeted by suicide bombers from a Boko Haram faction loyal to longtime leader Abubakar Shekau.
The faction typically attacks soft civilian targets such as mosques, markets and bus stations, often using young women as bombers.
Boko Haram’s insurgency has claimed more than 27,000 lives and forced two million to flee their homes, sparking a dire humanitarian crisis.
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