Gaborone: The slim, fit-looking President of Botswana says he is finally ready to get married but made it clear that overweight women need not apply.

President Ian Khama, 57, has never been married, but at a political party meeting last month he said his top requirement for a future wife is that she needs to be tall, slim and beautiful - in a country known for short, heavy set women.

To drive the point home "Africa's most eligible bachelor", at that party meeting, 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."

The crowd, including the assistant minister who had been singled out, reportedly laughed at the president's comments.

Khama claims he's been too busy running the country to find a wife, and has dispatched presidential aides to find a suitable mate.

The president's status as a bachelor is of general national concern. Khama, elected in 2009, is not only president, he's also the chief of the Bamangwa to people, Botswana's largest ethnic group. Marriage is a requirement of tribal tradition, something that Khama, so far, has defied.

Khama's standing as the president as well as a prominent chief has virtually ruled out scolding him for his attitude towards women, and no women's groups in the country have publicly criticized him for his comments.

(Agencies)