Botswana: Dr Ramsay Blasts Ian Khama

11 September 2019

Former government spokesperson, Dr Jeff Ramsay has fired potshots at former president Ian Khama warning him that he will never return to the presidency.

Dr Ramsay, who has worked most of his life serving under the Khama administration, broke ranks with his former master on Thursday evening at the launch of a book that has sparked a lot of controversy titled "Wrestling Botswana back from Khama" written by Enole Ditsheko. The outspoken Ramsay sent a strong warning to Khama indicating that he must bear in mind that if the vulnerable rule of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is replaced by another party or parties, he (Ian Khama) will never return to the presidency.

"What is certain is that our fourth president will not be returning to State House. Our current constitution is very clear on this point and I atleast do not foresee anything that will change that fact," said Dr Ramsay, amid ululations from the audience that graced the book launch.

He warned Khama to bear in mind that Botswana is not a Russian Federation, reiterating that vigorous debates is the fuel that fires or sustains any democracy. This, he said, is the reason why true democrats always welcome robust exchange of diverse opinion. In that context Dr Ramsay said he is hopeful that other members of the public will join him in supporting the publication. "The book's thesis may be summarized as follows-That for many years post-colonial Botswana benefited from the nurturing of its good governance traditions of tolerance and mutual respect, public policy through consultation along with relatively low levels of corruption. But over the past decade there has been regression," he said.

Dr Ramsay added that while Batswana can learn from perspectives about their recent past, any wrestling match to push the nation towards a new beginning ought to focus on new individuals as well as possible structural reforms.

BDP betrayed Moitoi

Dr Ramsay also said on the other side he disagrees with the author under chapter 47 where he defends the raising of the citizenship question in the context of Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi's court challenge on the eve of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Kang congress. His argument is that the way Moitoi's citizenship was called into question by the BDP was not only wrong but a sad betrayal of the inclusive values that have sustained the party from its inception. He insisted that he can only pray that what happened will thus prove to be an anomaly and not a trend within the party going forward.

Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi lost the case in which she wanted to interdict the Kang Congress and cause postponement to a later date to address irregularities she had objected against in the build up to the congress. The judgement by a panel of three judges dismissed her case noting that the urgent application by Moitoi was self-created as there was no urgency on her case.

The book

Commending the book's author for a welcome development, Dr Ramsay - who has since been replaced by Andrew Sesinyi as new government spokesperson, said the October elections may confirm the majority of Botswana's citizens' support to the current administration or they might be a change of government for the very first time.

In addition, Dr Ramsay observed that the 2019 elections may be the most uncertain polls ever in Botswana's half century plus of existence due to unfolding events in the political space.

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