By Mpho Tebele
Gaborone - Outgoing President Ian Khama is set to head back to the barracks if his continuous plea that incoming President Mokgweetsi Masisi should consider appointing him the next commander of the army is anything to go by.
During his ongoing farewell tour across the country, Khama keeps on reminding the nation that if he had his way, he would retrace his steps back to the barracks.
Khama has expressed his desire to be reappointed commander of the Botswana Defence Force (BDP). Khama’s utterances have been received with mixed reactions with those close to him saying they are being made in jest while others say he is serious about his intentions.
Speaking at a farewell party organised by the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Khama reminded retired Lieutenant General Tebogo Masire, who was giving welcome remarks that he had spoken about his past but forgot to tell people where he will be in the next 10 years.
“I will be the Commander of BDF,” he said.
The 65-year-old former BDF commander added, “Please ask the incoming President Mokgweetsi Masisi to make sure that I am reinstated as the BDF commander on the 1st of April when he takes over as the President of the country.”
He was making the plea to former President Festus Mogae saying he was the one who made him to leave the army in 2007 while he was far from retirement age.
“I’m as fit as a fiddle. So the incoming president should consider my request. Even age is still on my side, as you can see I’m still young,” he said.
Khama also hinted at the possibility of returning to the army recently when thanking the BDF band for serenading the multitudes of people who came for the official opening of a dual-carriageway in the city of Francistown in northern Botswana.
“The BDF band members must know that on April 1st, I will be the army commander,” Khama reportedly said.
Some local media reports say there may be credence in what Khama reportedly said, as this was not the first time the President said he is going to be the commander of the army again.
At the same event, Khama was also quoted as saying at one other event that, “I’m going to talk to the Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi to appoint me as the BDF Commandeer again on April 1.”
Talk that Khama was going to lead the army again after his presidency was reignited last year, when the all-party caucus agreed that former presidents could be employed in any capacity they so wished.
Observers say should Khama go back to the barracks, the move is likely to impact on his legacy, as he has been the lonely voice criticising African presidents who amend the constitutions of their countries so they could remain in power.