Former leader, now in South Africa, charged with possession of illegal firearms.
Ian Khama, the former president of Botswana, will challenge an arrest warrant issued by a court for possession of illegal firearms, his lawyer said.
Khama, who led Botswana from 2008 to 2018, left the country for neighboring South Africa last year after falling out with his successor, President Mokgweetsi Masisi.
The arrest warrant, issued Friday by Gaborone’s regional magistrate, follows Khama’s failure to appear for trial earlier this year. The 69-year-old faces 14 charges dating back to 2016, including charges of money laundering and dealing with stolen property, but the warrant is only for possession of five illegal firearms.
Mareledi Dipate, the magistrate who issued the arrest warrant, said Khama should be apprehended immediately and taken to Broadhurst Magistrate’s Court.
Victor Ramalepa, a lawyer for the former leader, told local newspaper Mmegi that they will challenge the decision, without giving further details.
Khama is being charged along with former intelligence and police chief Isaac Kgosi, suspended police commissioner Keabetswe Makgophe, and Victor Paledi, a former deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sports and Culture.
Khama has vehemently denied the allegations, saying they are part of a political conspiracy over his opposition to Masisi.
“No crime has been committed. I have done nothing wrong,” Khama told South African state broadcaster SABC on Friday.
The former leader said the order was issued because he “left the ruling party and campaigned against him [Masisi]”.
“I have the licenses [for the firearms]. They wanted to search [his property] and take them away. But they came with the wrong search warrant,” Khama told SABC.
‘Despite the fact that they came with the wrong search warrant… I said I have nothing to hide, let’s meet tomorrow and I’ll show the guns and the permits. They didn’t come,” he added.
Khama, the son of Botswana’s first president, Seretse Khama, was Botswana’s fourth president.
After serving as commander of the Botswana Defense Force, Khama ventured into politics and served as vice president from 1998 to 2008, before succeeding Festus Mogae as president in 2008.
Khama was re-elected in the 2009 election. He was re-elected in October 2014 and left office four years later after serving two five-year terms.