Opposition, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) is pinching on President Mokgweetsi Masisi to face the reality of a dark cloud hanging over Botswana with regard to challenges of political uncertainty.
UDC which is a conglomerate of the oldest opposition parties in the country, Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana Peoples Party (BPP), was this week reacting to remarks by Masisi, which he made at the just ended World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.
“We are not caricaturing the country in a manner described by Masisi. What we are doing is something provided for in terms of the law and is part of the electoral process. Election petitions are not new. What is new is the elephantine proportion of rigging in the 2019 elections,” the UDC official mouthpiece Moeti Mohwasa told WeekendPost on Thursday. Mohwasa further observed that Masisi should at least be happy that the opposition did not cause pandemonium in the country but is rather opting for court which is the main arbiter.
“He (Masisi) should be happy that not notwithstanding the extent of cheating, the opposition remained calm and did not cause instability. We note that he is willing to abide by the court’s decision if it does not go his way,” he highlighted. The response comes following the annotations Masisi made earlier this week on the side-lines of WEF, when speaking to CNBC International discussing his plans to push Botswana's growth potential locally and internationally.
Masisi had told CNBC anchors, Geoff Cutmore and Steve Sedgwick that: “I wish you were from Botswana like I. What you speak of this really is caricaturing Botswana as if there was instability. For us it’s totally normal. We have always been committed to the rule of law. And so even citizens know that if you have a challenge, or a dispute (like UDC), you go to the courts of law so they will be settled.”
Inaugurated as the fifth President of the country after winning the just ended 12th country General Election, Masisi was stating that Botswana has an advantage of a much friendlier environment for development. The CNBC journalists however then raised alarm to Masisi that, “for many of those things to happen your country needs political stability and at the moment we are in a moment where the opposition is challenging election results, you tried to dismiss the UDC’s perspective, and there will be a ruling later this month, I think, so we are waiting to see where this things goes.”
The distinguished international scribes also added that, they want to know if such prevailing state of affairs is holding back some of the opportunities for government to actually focus on the economy as the country is now in the midst of an issue of political uncertainty which will make policy quite difficult to implement. Masisi then responded: “when matters are before the courts, life goes on. Before I left home, I went through the Budget Speech for the current Parliament, we have drawn up our budget.
We are ready, we continue to serve our people and country.” If the court pronounces in anyway whatsoever, the President emphasized that “we will abide by that ruling”; adding that “if it wants us to go for a re-election or bye-election, we will do it, there is no anxiety, there is no political instability, there is nothing abnormal in Botswana, it’s just the way we do business.”
Meanwhile, a Professor at the University of Botswana in the Department of Political and Administrative Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Professor David Sebudubudu said the consequences of rigging claims are worrisome and should be of more concern to the country than the outcome at court of law.
“Although Botswana is still enjoying political stability, at the same time the allegations of rigging are very serious. So I am concerned about repetition of Botswana. They stand to dent reputation of Botswana for many years to come. Look at the image of Zimbabwe, it can’t even recuperate. Therefore they should not be taken lightly or dismissed easily,” the UB professor highlighted.
According to Sebudubudu what should be troubling more is not the country leadership but dealing with the possible repercussions of the rigging claims. “Court may dismiss them but even if court throws them away this may haunt the country for some time,” the Political Analyst highlighted to this publication. He pointed out that in the past there used to be 1 0r 2 petitions filed with court and were resolved but that UDC is now querying results of 15 constituencies which is alarming and of high magnitude and therefore cannot possibly be ignored.
The UB academic said Masisi’s effort to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the face of these allegations may turn out to bear no fruits. “So the scale today means we should be concerned because it will work against Masisi’s efforts to lure investors as Botswana has a narrow economic base. Botswana is a small country,” he said.
Nowadays everywhere, he added that people are reading about Botswana because information travels faster and they see what is happening. “Therefore the government (or Court, IEC and Masisi) should be proactive in addressing this serious matter, concerning the possible implications,” he insisted.
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.
The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.
The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.
This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.
Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.