FILE – This Thursday, Jan. 20, 2016 file photo shows Botswana’s President Ian Khama addressing the third Extraordinary African Union Summit in Cairo, Egypt.
The world’s president may have been unimpressed by Botswana’s budget, but in a startling personal attack on his home country’s former diplomats, President Ian Khama accused them of racism, saying they had gone to Europe to avoid being sent back.
Khama’s comments, part of a widely publicized public interview with French radio in which he spelled out the country’s decision to end tourism licenses, are likely to set back both relations with France and allegations of systemic racism levelled at the country. Khama’s son, Barnabas, will succeed him in 2021.
“They traveled to Europe. They were sent back to Africa on suspicion of stealing money, I think there was a large amount of money that was stolen,” he said, according to the Guardian.
Khama, 52, and his African tribal chiefs reportedly expect a seat at the United Nations Security Council as the people of Botswana try to reclaim and settle a historic dispute over the Atlantic Ocean island of Sao Tome.
Amid their efforts to claim the island, Britain, which overran the Cape Protectorate after winning the Franco-Mauritanian war of 1800, has said the territory is part of the kingdom of England.