Botswana’s Khama urges Kabila to respect law, hold elections

Saturday January 27 2018

Botswana’s President Ian Khama. PHOTO | FILE


Botswana’s President Ian Khama has criticised the leader of the Democratic Republic of Congo for postponing elections in his country.

President Khama, who leaves office in March, urged his counterpart Joseph Kabila to respect the central African country’s constitution.

Mr Khama was speaking on Friday at a farewell ceremony in Francistown, about 430km northeast of the capital Gaborone.

“Amending the constitution should be the will of the citizens not a single person,” he was quoted as saying by The Patriot newspaper.

President Kabila, 46, has been in power since 2001. His constitutional term in office expired in December 2016. Following a deal brokered by the Catholic Church, Mr Kabila agreed that new elections would be held by the end of 2017.

But the Congolese government last year postponed the vote until December 28, 2018 citing logistical challenges.


The law allows President Kabila to remain in office until a successor is elected.

The failure to hold the elections has since sparked a series of violent protests in major towns across the country.

Critics of Mr Kabila say his regime is corrupt, incompetent and repressive.

“We have one of the leaders in the SADC region [Southern African Development Community] who is not willing to obey the rule of law.

“He has been delaying elections for his self-interest which is a bad thing,” President Khama is quoted as saying Friday.

President Khama, 64, has been in power since 2008 and will be replaced in March by his deputy president Mokgweetsi Masisi.

READ: Botswana’s Ian Khama to step down next year

Botswana is one of the Africa’s most stable countries and the continent's longest continuous multi-party democracy.

The southern African nation is relatively free of corruption and has a good human rights record.