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Botswana President Searching For 'Tall And Slim' Wife

Botswana's president has set out a challenge bound to anger Alexander McCall Smith's unflappable Botswana detective Mma Ramotswe: aides must find him a "tall and slim" wife in a country of "traditionally built" ladies.

Ian Khama, 57, is still a bachelor, a matter of concern in Botswana, a country that views its leader as a tribal chief.

President Khama has turned the tables on his followers, explaining he was too busy with affairs of state to find a companion.

"For your information, I want a woman who is tall, slim and good looking," he told a party meeting on the issue.

He then turned to the corpulent Botlhogile Tshireletso, a female minister, and said: "I don't want one like this one. She may fail to pass through the door, breaking furniture with her heavy weight and even break the vehicles' shock absorbers."

The gibe would have been met with consternation by McCall Smith's heroine Mma Ramotswe, who was at pains to explain that her size was down to her adherence to traditional values in Africa - where corpulence is seen as a sign of wealth and happiness.

"You are guilty of ridiculing the President," Mr Khama added. "The best that you should do is to go all out and look for the woman that you prefer for me as I hardly have time to hunt for a woman who will become my wife."

The gauntlet was taken up by the women's wing of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party.

Angelinah Sengalo, its chairman, has proposed beauty queen Emma Wareus, who was recently awarded the crown of "First Princess" as runner up in this year's Miss World Contest.

"As the party's women's wing, we shall immediately play a leading role in taking Emma Wareus on board as our choice for First Lady," she said. "No way should our male counterparts could be allowed any free role in the hunt for Khama's choice.

"I shall involve party veterans and see what can be done".

Marriage has always been a fraught issue in the Khama family. The president's father, Sir Seretse was the country's foremost independence hero but was forced into exile because the colonial administration bowed to pressure from neighbouring South Africa's apartheid rulers to remove a man who had married a white woman. Lady Ruth Khama was a Lloyds of London bank clerk and her son is Southern Africa's only mixed race leader.

Mr Khama, who is Surrey-born and Sandhurst-trained, was previously engaged to a dentist from the Southern African country's capital Gaborone, Dr Nomsa Mbere, but arrangements made for their marriage came to an abrupt end when the president's mother died and he was recently reported to have confirmed that the engagement was off.

Internationally, Mr Khama is best known for breaking ranks in southern Africa by speaking out against neighbouring Zimbabwe's President, Robert Mugabe.

Tags:Botswana president calls for 'tall and slim' wife, Botswana President Searching For 'Tall And Slim' Wife
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