Botswana’s ex-leader Khama asks court to set aside arrest warrant

Botswana’s for­mer president, Ian Khama, has filed an urgent court application seeking to strike down an arrest warrant issued against him by a magistrate last week.

Court papers released on Thurs­day showed that he asked the high court in the capital, Gaborone, to set aside the warrant or stay its execution, citing a lack of evidence for his prosecution.

A warrant was issued after the 69-year-old, Botswana’s immediate past president, failed to turn up in court to answer charges laid against him in April.

They include unlawful pos­session of a firearm, receiving stolen property and procuring the registration of a firearm by false pretence.

“The warrant of arrest threatens my right to liberty in circumstanc­es where I have committed no crime … should this warrant of arrest not be stayed or set aside … I would suffer irreparable harm which cannot be compensated for in any form,” he said in the filing to contest the warrant.

Khama, whose late father, Seretse, was Botswana’s founding president, was in a dispute with his successor, incumbent President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, which resulted in him quitting the ruling Botswana Democratic Party in 2019.

The former leader has been liv­ing in South Africa since Novem­ber 2021.

His lawyer said Khama was still waiting to be given a date for the hearing. Khama has missed court appearances since he was charged in April, saying he feared for his life in Botswana.

After serving as commander of the Botswana Defence Force, Khama was vice president of the Southern African country from 1998 to 2008, and then became president when Festus Mogae retired.

Khama left office in 2018 after completing two five-year terms.

Since leaving the ruling party, he has backed the Botswana Patriotic Front which broke off from the BDP.

Source: News Agencies

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