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Ian Khama


Ian Khama was born February 27, 1953. He is the current President of Botswana and the Paramount Chief of the Bamangwato tribe, the largest ethnic group in Botswana.

More by user: kwyly
Created: 9th Apr 2008
Modified: 9th Apr 2008
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Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama was born February 27, 1953 in the UK, where his father, had married an English woman, Ruth Williams. He is the current President of Botswana and the Paramount Chief of the Bamangwato tribe, the largest ethnic group in Botswana. He is the first born son of Sir Seretse Khama, the country's foremost independence leader who was President from 1966 to 1980, and Lady Ruth Williams Khama.

Ian Khama attended school in his father's village of Serowe, in the central district, before proceeding to study in other countries including Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia, Swaziland, Switzerland and the UK where he graduated from the Sandhurst Military Academy.

After completing his studies he began a long and distinguished military career, serving as Commander of the Botswana Defence Force, under President Quett Masire until Masire stepped down in April 1998. Upon Masire's retirement, Khama was appointed the new Vice President under the new President Festus Mogae. He did not, however, hold a seat in Parliament until early July 1998, at which time he won overwhelmingly by election and was sworn in as official Vice President. He is credited with playing a pivotal role in developing the army into a professional force, which participates in peacekeeping missions, disaster relief and anti-poaching activities.

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.

Khama, already a member of the BDP Central Committee, was elected as Chairman of the BDP on July 22, 2003 at a party congress. He 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.

Mogae stepped down, as he had long said he would do, on April 1, 2008, handing power to Khama. At his swearing-in ceremony in Gaborone, Khama said that there would be continuity in policy and no "radical changes", and he emphasized his commitment to democracy. He immediately undertook a major cabinet reshuffle, and he appointed former Foreign Minister Mompati Merafhe as the new Vice-President.

Mr. Khama is said to be a quiet man, and that "even those close to him in the ruling party have complained that it is difficult to know what he is thinking." He is said to be passionate about wildlife, and has never married.

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Biographical Information
Ian Khama
(At a Glance)
  City: Gaborone
Place of Origin: Botswana

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