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Botswana's ex-president Khama asks court to set aside arrest warrant

Botswana's former president Ian Khama has filed an urgent court application seeking to strike down an arrest warrant issued against him by a magistrate last week.
Botswana's former President Ian Khama returns to his seat after giving a speech during the Botswana-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Pretoria, South Africa, 11 November 2016. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko
Botswana's former President Ian Khama returns to his seat after giving a speech during the Botswana-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Pretoria, South Africa, 11 November 2016. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Khama, whose father Seretse Khama was Botswana's founding president, is in a dispute with his successor and incumbent President Mokgweetsi Masisi which resulted in him quitting the ruling Botswana Democratic Party in 2019.

The warrant was issued after Khama, who has been living in South Africa since November 2021, failed to turn up in court to answer charges laid against him in April.

They include unlawful possession of a firearm, receiving stolen property and procuring the registration of a firearm by false pretence.

Khama has asked the high court in Gaborone for the warrant against him to be set aside or for its execution to be stayed, citing a lack of evidence for his prosecution, court papers released on Thursday, 5 January, showed.

"The warrant of arrest threatens my right to liberty in circumstances where I have committed no crime...should this warrant of arrest not be stayed or set aside...I would suffer irreparable harm which cannot be compensated for in any form," he said in the filing.

His lawyer said Khama is still waiting to be given a date for the hearing. Khama has missed court appearances since he was charged in April, saying he feared for his life in Botswana.

Khama is now the patron of a splinter political party, the Botswana Patriotic Front.



SOURCE

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About Brian Benza

Reporting by Brian Benza; Editing by Bhargav Acharya and Angus MacSwan

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