Politics

Botswana’s president bids farewell to power after a decade

Botswana’s President Ian Khama, 65, has wrapped up a nationwide “farewell tour” as he prepares to step down on Saturday after a decade in power, AFP news agency reports.

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Mr Khama’s decsion is in sharp contrast to some other African leaders who have tried to change the constitution to extend their rule.

Mr Khama is stepping down 18 months before the next election is due, and will hand power to his deputy, President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

He has toured all of Botswana’s 57 constituencies since December, in a long goodbye to his supporters in a country which has a population of about 2.2 million.

In his ancestral village on Tuesday, he rejected pleas from villagers to remain in office, saying he took office only because his predecessor, Festus Mogae, persuaded him to do so, AFP reports.

“I was a soldier, I didn’t have interest to join politics, I had future plans, away from politics,” he told the crowd of thousands.

He will be succeeded by Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi, a full 18 months before elections.

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