Khama’s attempt to appoint brother as deputy fails

President Ian Khama’s bid to appoint his brother, Tshekedi Khama, as deputy-president has been thwarted as Botswana’s government says it will accept a court ruling to counter the move.

Khama, re-elected for a second term last month, wanted lawmakers to vote by a show of hands for his deputy, instead of through a secret ballot.

A show of hands would have exposed any who opposed his choice.

Khama had faced a backlash from within his own party over the prospect of Tshekedi as deputy-president, with parliamentarians accusing the president of trying to create a dynasty.

Botswana’s High Court on Friday that deemed only a secret parliamentary ballot constitutional. “A secret ballot is a hallmark of a free and fair election within our representative democracy,” said Justice Michael Leburu in the Gaborone High Court.

The executive issued a statement late on Tuesday, saying: “Government accepts that the matter has been resolved and wishes to assure the public that it will respect and fully implement the decision of the court.”

Opposition party lawyers say that the same voting process had been in place unchallenged for years, and was used to endorse Khama as deputy-president in 1999 and 2004.

Botswana went to the polls last month in elections that saw the BDP winning with less than 50% of the vote for the first time since it came to power in 1966.

Though the country is routinely held up as a paragon of good governance on the continent, its ruling party has been criticised recently for attempts to stifle dissent.