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Masitara quits active politics

Publishing Date : 22 August, 2017


Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s former Member of Parliament for Gaborone West South which has been re-named Gaborone Bonnington North, Robert Masitara has decided to quit active politics, Weekend Post can reveal.

The Gaborone based businessman - cum socialite cum philanthropist, confirmed to this publication this week that he is “fed up with politics.” “I can confirm that I have lost interest in politics, I have even changed my mind and will not be contesting for the 2019 General Elections at Gaborone Bonnington South. I think I played my part, and I am done,” he said boldly. According to Masitara, he feels disillusioned by politics in general particularly at the BDP as there are is a lot of power struggle going on in the party and party members fighting incessantly against each other for positions.

“Ours is not issue oriented but it’s mostly pettiness,” the maverick politician, who is seen as lacking a common touch of the average man on the ground, observed. Recently, he made a u-turn at the eleventh hour after submitting his name for contestation for the position of chairmanship of the BDP which was seen as a two horse man race between Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology Nonofo Molefhi. Pundits had said Molefhi was linked to having an interest in the presidency of the party.
In light of the observation, Masitara said he realized that indeed he was caught up in a losing battle particularly as he viewed the race as not necessarily of ideas but a fight for “something bigger.” He continued to state that it was therefore not his immediate intention to get in the middle of scheme of things.

The corruption busting former MP said this at the backdrop of a strong speculation that the competition between Molefhi and Masisi was not merely for chairmanship of the party but for total control of the party that would culminate in any of them ultimately clinching the presidency in 2019. Prior to 2019 General Elections, Masisi, who clinched the position of chairman at the said BDP congress, will also automatically become president in 2018. Before the BDP congress, and subsequent to pulling out of chairmanship race prematurely, the non conformist politician, Masitara, revealed that instead, and in line with empowering women, he categorically endorses Anna Motlhagodi to represent BDP at Gaborone Bonnington North.

Before defecting from opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) to BDP, Motlhagodi contested against the latter in the last two successive elections in which Masitara won in 2009 while the renowned human rights lawyer and Umbrella for Democratic Party (UDC) leader Duma Boko prevailed in the following 2014 elections in his debut with the duo. Boko is seeking re-election in 2019 and his likeliest challenger would seem is Motlhagodi at least for now. When speaking to Weekend Post this week, the BDP former MP said he will focus on his company, Masitara Forensics which is a money laundering and fraud investigators organ.

Masitara, known for his signature anti-corruption stance which formed central part of his political activism during his two terms in parliament, Masitara served as the Chairman of two parliamentary committees being one on State Owned Enterprises and the other on Governance and Oversight over the Office of State President and Agencies that fight Crime and Corruption.As chair of the parliamentary bodies, Masitara earned himself a ‘bad name’ from politicians, even from his own party and, some top government officials who were against his anti corruption crusade saying it’s just a “witch-hunt” to embarrass the elites. He was however not fazed by the uncertainties and was adamant in fighting corruption in all its facets while in parliament.  

Masitara has pioneered and has been actively involved in advancement of numerous social philanthropic activities in Botswana. Specifically, he is also the founding chairman of the Masitara Foundation, a non-profit making organisation whose role entails the provision of medical assistance to under-privileged children in Botswana. When joining active politics prior, Masitara said he believed it was a platform through which he could meaningfully represent the interests of the underprivileged and disadvantaged people in Botswana.



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