An arrest warrant has been issued in Botswana for former president Ian Khama, who is believed to be ipiers potter
According to the warrant issued by Gaborone’s regional magistrate, Mareledi Dipate, Khama should be apprehended on sight and brought before the Broadhurst Magistrate’s Court.
It is the state’s case that Khama faces a charge of unlawful possession of firearms on or around 3 March 2016.
The arrest warrant follows Khama’s failure to appear in court earlier this year. He faced 14 charges including allegations of money laundering and handling stolen property.
The warrant issued only regards the possession of five illegal firearms.
Under Botswana law, illegal possession of guns could lead to a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
In the past, Ian Khama, the son of Botswana’s first President, told local media house Mmegi that he would welcome an extradition request since it would give him the chance to expose what he called “lies and fabrications” by current president Mokgweetsi Masisi.
Khama had respected the ruling Botswana Peoples Party, BDP, tradition of handing over power to his successor Masisi a year to the 2019 general elections.
He however, clashed with Masisi months after stepping down over certain policy positions, and ultimately backed opposition candidates in the national elections.
He was initially charged in April this year in absentia along with former state intelligence boss Isaac Kgosi, suspended police commissioner Keabetswe Makgophe and Victor Paledi, a former deputy permanent secretary in the youth, gender, sport and culture ministry.
Besides Khama the others have been appearing in court since they were charged by the state.
Khama is facing 14 charges ranging from unlawful possession of a firearm to receiving stolen property and money laundering. But the warrant is for one charge.
The former president left Botswana in November 2021 for South Africa.
At the time he denied that he was seeking asylum or running away from alleged persecution by his successor Mokgweetsi Masisi.
He told journalists that Masisi was using state institutions to attack him since their fallout in 2019.
Since then, Khama has been travelling the world from his base in South Africa. In January he was in Zambia to visit the late former Zambian president Rupiah Banda, who was suffering from colon cancer.
On that same visit, he went to see the family of the late Zambian founding president Kenneth Kaunda. He was to return to Zambia for the burial of Banda where he spoke about his persecution back home.
In March, Botswana’s Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) detained his twin brothers, Tshekedi Khama and Anthony Khama as part of an investigation to do with Khama’s whereabouts. The twins were later released.
Since June Khama has been to the United Kingdom twice.
The former leader is believed to be in South Africa, where he went into a self-imposed exile in November 2021 Mr Khama left office in 2018 after two five-year terms.