The Office of the President has entered the ongoing political public spat between President Ian Khama and former Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Margaret Nasha. Unhappy with Dr Nasha's outburst at a rally to welcome her to the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) on Sunday - in which she claimed that the Constitution of Botswana was amended to pave way for the Khamas to become presidents, OP stopped short of calling her a liar in a statement released on Tuesday.
Dr Nasha's tirade came after Khama dismissed her as a spent force and power hungry, who left the BDP after she was defeated in the contest for Speaker position. He accused Nasha of being ungrateful after having enjoyed many high ranking appointments from the BDP government. Nasha would on Sunday retaliate, saying she got the positions because she deserved the appointment. She attacked Khama's style of rule likening him to a dictator who makes unilateral decisions and expects those around him to take orders without questioning them.
Full OP statement
It has been commonly observed that for democratic debate to flourish everyone must be entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts. It is in this spirit that this Office finds it necessary to set the record straight with respect to recent false utterances made about His Excellency the President by the former Speaker of Parliament, Margaret Nasha at a political rally this past weekend.
We find it particularly disturbing that a person of Margret Nasha’s experience and past position should stoop so low as to attempt to mislead the presumably less informed with the false suggestion that this country’s Constitution was amended to allow the President to qualify for office. From the time of his birth the son of Sir Seretse Khama was known not only to his own morafe but, thanks to widespread international media coverage at the time, much of the world a Motswana by descent. Mma Nasha should also be old enough to remember that on the 30th of September 1966 His Excellency, like the vast majority of others then in the country, became a citizen of the newly born Republic.
To ignore these simple facts goes beyond the dirty politics of deceit. It quite frankly is an insult to the intelligence of ordinary Batswana. The content of the amendments to Botswana’s Constitution over the years are, in this regard, a matter of public record that can be easily verified.
We also find it sad that in her reckless and seemingly angry outburst the former Speaker has also sought to snobbishly cast aspersions on the President’s education. While it may be noted that the President, like his predecessors, derives his mandate from the democratically expressed will of the people rather than any academic degree or qualification, his educational path is, nonetheless, also a matter of published public record. This background of course includes his graduation from the elite Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst, whose distinguished alumni over the past two centuries has included many past and present world leaders, such as Sir Winston Churchill, as well as numerous contributors in other fields of endeavour. In this respect the status of the institution, as well as achievements over the years of its alumni, are well documented.
To quote Sir Walter Scott’s Lord Marmion: “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” In this respect, we sadly conclude that in her reckless distortions Margaret Nasha has entrapped only herself.