Botswana President Ian Khama has announced he will step down as president in April next year when his term officially ends.
Khama said during the State of the Nation address on Monday that he will leave the country in the hands of his Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi until the elections in 2019.
“Five months from now I shall be passing the baton of leadership of this great country into the very capable hands of VP Mokgweetsi Masisi. While we will undoubtedly continue to confront significant challenges, when we place the interests of Botswana first we shall find the strength to overcome all obstacles,” he said.
Khama succeeded former President Festus Mogae as president in 2008 after serving as Vice President since 1998. He was elected for a full five-year term in 2009 and re-elected in 2014 for his final second term.
The former military commander will also be replaced as the leader of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) by his vice president who was elected in July to lead the ruling party.
Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi will serve as interim president until the election in 2019 which will see four main opposition parties standing as a coalition to topple the ruling party which has been in power since 1966.