Botswana's president promises to fight graft

Former Botswana president Ian Khama is entangled in a corruption scandal. Courtesy #DStv403

GABORONE - Botswana's newly re-elected President Mokgweetsi Masisi was sworn in during a ceremony snubbed by his predecessor after the two former allies fell out in a highly public feud.

In a speech before several thousand supporters, Masisi promised to tackle corruption in diamond-rich Botswana, which has been seen across Africa as a beacon of stability and democracy.

Masisi did not mention his predecessor, Ian Khama, who has been embroiled in a dispute with the president since last year and who himself is now entangled in a corruption scandal.

READ: Botswana's ex-president slams successor

"My government will put in place... mechanisms through the application of practices of good governance to ensure that corruption is defeated," Masisi said.

The feud between the two men erupted soon after Khama stepped down at the end of his second five-year term and handed power to Masisi. The president was elected in October general polls, though the opposition called the vote rigged.

Khama and two others -- a former intelligence chief, and a South African businesswoman -- have been accused of embezzling more than $9-billion in public funds since 2018.

Khama has dismissed the accusations as "ridiculous".

READ: Bridgette Radebe sets record straight on Botswana allegations

"This is just fake news designed deliberately to discredit me," the former leader told AFP.

In a statement, Khama's lawyers denounced the allegations as fabricated and an attempt to "settle personal vendettas".

"Our client will launch a thorough investigation of all the allegations made against him, in order to clear his name, offer the nation the truth, and expose this clandestine conspiracy by some government institutions to assassinate his character," it said.

Businesswoman Bridgette Motsepe-Radebe also denied the accusations against her in a press conference.


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