The exiled former president Ian Khama is allegedly the target of plans by the Botswanan administration to assassinate and jail him if he returns home.
In a recent interview, Khama told the newsmen that he knew about preparations to detain and poison him when he returned from exile in South Africa in 2021.
He asserted that in the run-up to the general elections in 2019, the Botswana government is afraid of his influence.
But communication permanent secretary William Sentshebeng called Khama’s remarks “outrageous and unfortunate” in a statement on Tuesday.
“We regard the claims as politically motivated and with sole intention to tarnishing the good image of Botswana and her government,” Sentshebeng said.
Elections are scheduled for the next year, and Khama has promised to unseat his hand-picked successor Mokgweetsi Masisi, who is now a fierce adversary and whom he accuses of endangering democracy.
In order to “unite with other parties to ensure that he and his party lose the elections,” Mr. Khama claimed he was getting ready to go for home.
The former leader claimed that he had updated his will and undertaken a “complete medical exam” because he was almost confident that he would be arrested within days of arriving.
Prior to handing up power to Masisi, then his deputy, Khama, a 70-year-old former senior military officer, ruled one of Africa’s leading diamond-producing countries for ten years until 2018.
The conflict between him and his successor began in 2018 when President Masisi began to roll back certain important initiatives that were implemented under Khama’s administration.
President Masisi made amends in January, but the antagonism still exists between the two.
Botswana issued an arrest warrant for Khama in December of last year on the grounds of alleged illegal firearm ownership.