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Masisi could take over earlier

SHARE   |   Monday, 22 January 2018   |   By Phillimon Mmeso
Masisi could take over earlier

President Ian Khama’s tenure of office that was characterised by controversies over the interpretation of the Constitution will close in the same style. March 31, 2018 – the day President Khama retires – will fall on Easter Holidays with April 1 being Easter Sunday and Monday a public holiday. Should President Khama retire on March 31 as per the constitution, the country will go for three days without a Head of State as government business will only resume on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Though President Khama has not indicated to officers on whether he will vacate office earlier, those close to him have indicated that he might retire two days before the end of his term.  “He cannot retire on any other date than the stipulated one as that will be in violation of the Constitution,” hinted a source at OP. Some say President Khama will likely make an announcement at his Kgotla in Serowe that he will vacate office earlier. President Khama has been vocal about some African presidents who refused to step down and criticised former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe of refusing to step down and won’t be want to attract negativity that he has extended his stay in power, said a source at OP.
President Khama, who is currently on a country wide tour to bid Batswana farewell, will address his last kgotla meeting in his home village of Serowe on March 26 and might retire on March 29 with Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi being sworn in on March 30. If that does not happen then it means Masisi will be inaugurated on Easter Sunday. In 1998 the constitution of Botswana was amended to limit the presidential terms to 10 years and allow automatic succession. President Khama took over from former President Festus Mogae on April 1, 2008.During his farewell in Moshupa, President Khama revealed that upon retirement he will go back to chieftainship and continue with the Housing Appeal which he said it will be renamed. Government spokesperson Dr Jeff Ramsay could only confirm that the transition is well underway, without offering further insight on the day of the real exchange of power.  “Someone has just indicated to me the retirement and swearing in will fall on Easter holidays, but what I know is that the transition is on and nothing has changed,” he said. The late President Masire resigned as a president on Tuesday 31st March 1998 and Mogae was sworn on Wednesday while in 2008 it was on a Monday with Khama taking office on Tuesday.