Botswana president does something popular African leaders rarely do: quit


He is the English-born son of a king, a fighter pilot, a teetotaling bachelor — and all that made him an unorthodox African president.

But Ian Khama stands out most for his final act as president of Botswana: stepping down.

At his home village of Serowe Tuesday, residents begged him to stay on another 50 years — usually the cue in Africa that a constitutional change is about to be muscled through Parliament so a leader can rule for life.

But Khama, 65, insisted on leaving office Saturday. His departure, which followed a decade of stable and largely uncontroversial rule, underscored a message he has oft repeated: Africa needs democracy.

Botswana, a nation of 2.2 million people, is the longest-running multiparty democracy on a continent whose leaders often cling to power into their 80s or 90s…

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