H.E THE PRESIDENT LT. GEN. DR. SERETSE KHA​MA IAN KHAMA​
(2008 - 2018)

1953: His Excellency the President, Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, is the first born son of Botswana's founder President, the late Sir Seretse Khama, and his revered wife the late Lady Ruth Khama. He was born on the 27th of February 1953 in Surrey, England as the second of four siblings, with an elder sister Jacqueline, and two younger twin brothers, Tshekedi and Anthony.

The location of the President's birth was due to the fact that his parents had been forced into political exile, being barred by the then colonial Government from residing in Botswana.  At the time Sir Seretse Khama was the uncrowned sovereign of one of Botswana's traditional Kingdoms, that of the Bangwato. But, for his defiance of racism, he had been barred from assuming his throne. This injustice was symbolically rectified in 1979 when, bowing to popular pressure, his eldest son agreed to be formally installed as the Kgosi Kgolo (traditional ruler) of Bangwato. At the time of the coronation it was, however, understood that Seretse Khama Ian Khama would, for an indefinite period, remain engaged in national service, leaving the tribal affairs of the Bangwato in the capable hands of others.

 

1960: The triumphant return of his parents from exile in 1956 allowed Seretse Khama Ian Khama to begin his primary schooling among his own people in Serowe in 1960.  He thereafter did his secondary education at White Stone School in Bulawayo, in what is now Zimbabwe, and Waterford School Swaziland, Geneva, with further studies Switzerland and Chichester, England.

 

1973: In 1973 Khama joined the paramilitary Police Mobile Unit, which was the forerunner of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF).  With the formation of the latter, in April 1977, Khama assumed the responsibility of Deputy Commander.  Formed in the face of rising regional tensions, which were then being driven by the racist regimes of Apartheid South Africa and rebel Rhodesia (liberated as Zimbabwe), who then encircled Botswana, at its formation the new army consisted of a mere 132 Police Mobile Unit veterans. This small force was immediately confronted with the task of countering stepped up cross border aggression by the then Rhodesian Security Forces. As both its Deputy Commander and Commander, from 1989 and 1998, Khama went on to play a central role in forging the BDF into a modern professional fighting force, which has won widespread respect for its record in such areas as international peacekeeping, disaster relief and anti-poaching activities, as well as defensive capabilities.

 

1974-75: Thereafter, Khama embarked on what would become a military career. For his tertiary education he attended the prestigious Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, England. After graduating he enrolled for further training at the Nigerian Police Academy at Ikeja. He also underwent flight training, in Gaborone and thereafter Antwerp, Belgium, in 1974-75., and has since maintained his status a qualified pilot.

 

1991: He was awarded the Conservation Award by the African Safari Club of Washington USA in 1991​

 

1996: He was awarded the Hotel and Tourism Industry Award in 1996

 

1998: In April 1998 Lieutenant General Khama retired from the Botswana Defence Force and joined politics. As a member of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party, he was appointed Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration.  In July that year, he won the Serowe North Constituency by-election and became its Member of Parliament. He was thereafter nominated for Vice President by President Festus Mogae; his nomination being subsequently endorsed by Parliament.  In addition to being Vice President Khama retained his Ministerial Portfolio at Presidential Affairs.

In early July 1998 he overwhelmingly won a by-election in Serowe North, receiving 2,986 votes against 86 votes for the candidate of the opposition Botswana National Front. On 13 July, he took his seat in the National Assembly and was sworn in as Vice-President By these actions, he effectively renounced his hitherto unclaimed hereditary chieftaincy, as the constitutional monarchs of modern Botswana are legally barred from actively taking part in party politics. Be this as it may, many traditional Bamangwato continue to recognize him as their chief.

 

1999: In the October 1999 general election, Khama again contested the Serowe North Constituency and won; he was again nominated and endorsed by Parliament as Vice President.

Following the victory of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in the general election of October 1999, Khama remained Vice-President as well as Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration. 

 

2000-01: Mogae granted Khama a one-year leave later in the year, a decision that the opposition Botswana Congress Party and the Botswana Council of Non-Governmental Organizations sharply criticized. Khama's leave became effective on 1 January 2000. He returned to his duties as Vice-President on 1 September 2000, although he was replaced as Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration at that time. He was awarded the Paul Harris Fellow and the Endangered Wildlife Trust Statesman Award in 2001. 

 

2003: In July 2003 Khama was further elected Chairman of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party. Khama, already a member of the BDP Central Committee, was elected as Chairman of the BDP on 22 July 2003 at a party congress; he defeated the previous Chairman, Ponatshego Kedikilwe, receiving 512 votes against 219 for Kedikilwe. Khama had been backed for the post by President Mogae, and the outcome was viewed as crucial, paving the way for Khama to eventually succeed Mogae as President.

 

2004: In October 2004 he contested the General Elections in the Serowe North West Constituency and was the only parliamentary candidate unopposed. He was also once more endorsed as Vice President. 

 

2007: Khama is a member of the Board of Directors of the US-based organization Conservation International, which is also active in Botswana. In 2007, Khama appeared on British television in the BBC's Top Gear motoring programme and he met the presenters as they prepared to cross the Makgadikgadi Pan in northern Botswana by car. 

 

2008: After serving as Commander of the Botswana Defence Force, he entered politics and served as Vice-President Of Botswana then succeeded  Festus Mogae as President on 1 April 2008.

At his swearing-in ceremony in Gaborone, Khama said that there would be continuity in policy and no "radical changes", although he said that "a change in style and special emphasis on a number of issues" might be evident, and he emphasized his commitment to democracy. He immediately undertook a major cabinet reshuffle, and he appointed Mompati Merafhe, who had been Foreign Minister, as the new Vice-President.

 

Upon becoming President, Khama left his post as Chairman of the BDP; Daniel Kwelagobe was chosen to replace him.

 

2009: President Ian Khama began his first full term with a reshuffled Cabinet which saw two women in key positions. However even with few women in primary cabinet positions, the Botswana Democratic Party was able to make a first for Botswana, by electing the first female speaker of Parliament in the form of Ms. Margaret Nasha.​​​​​​​​