Botswana is one of the few African nations on the planet without a First Lady -- a fact which President Ian Khama says he is hoping to change soon. But now, the nation's most eligible bachelor finds himself in hot water after specifying that his future wife must not be overweight, ABC is reporting.
At a political party meeting last month, the never-married Khama told ministers that his top requirement for his future wife is that she needs to be tall, slim and beautiful. To emphasize that point, he then pointed to the Assistant Minister of Local Government Botlhogile Tshreletso 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 vehicle's shock absorbers."
Though government officials, including the minister who Khama had singled out, are said to have chuckled at the jibe, not everyone in a country known for its short, heavy-set women is laughing. Khama's critics have called him to retract what they deem is a "sexist" proclamation. "Some were saying it was a joke. Some were saying it wasn't a joke. He meant what he said," a reporter for the Botswana Gazette is quoted by ABC as saying. "He should withdraw his statement because it's negative against women."
The pressure on Khama to get hitched has been mounting for some time. Elected in 2009, the president also serves as the chief of the Bamangwato people, Botswana's largest ethnic group. This tribal responsibility requires marriage -- just one custom among many that Khama has thus far defied. According to the BBC, although picked as a chief in 1979, Mr Khama has never assumed the responsibilities of traditional leadership in his village.