Batswana worried about economic and political effects of falling-out between current and former presidents. A large majority of Batswana say they think the falling-out between President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi and his predecessor, Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama, is likely to negatively affect the country’s economic and political stability, a new Afrobarometer survey shows.
Since a model transfer of power from the term-limited Khama to his deputy and hand-picked successor 18 months ahead of upcoming elections, the two have clashed dramatically over a number of policy changes proposed by Masisi. The dispute has dominated the country’s political and media landscapes, culminating in Khama’s dramatic exit from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in favour of a newly formed opposition party, the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF).
According to Afrobarometer findings more than three-fourths (78%) of Batswana “agree” or “strongly agree” that the dispute between the current president and his immediate predecessor is likely to affect the economic stability of the country. “Younger and better-educated citizens are more likely to see a negative effect on the country’s economy, but large majorities share this concern irrespective of locality, education, and age.” The study observes that even more respondents (83%) “agree” or “strongly agree” that this falling-out is likely to affect the political stability of the country.
Khama and Masisi are currently battling it out at the freedom squares with the former trying to woo his sympathisers away from the ruling BDP to his newly found BPF or at the least in favour of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). Khama is telling those who attend his numerous rallies that he has one mission, “to correct his mistake by removing Masisi from the Presidency”. The Afrobarometer Survey has given BPF a 2% share to the popular vote and allotted 44% to the ruling BDP. UDC has been apportioned 22% of the popular vote way ahead of the recently formed Alliance for Progressives which has 3%. 11% of those interviewed refused to divulge their allegiance.
The 2019 UDC has a different composition to the 2014 UDC. The Botswana Movement for Democarcy (BMD) which was seen as catalytic in 2014 elections has since cracked and booted out of the Umbrella project and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) has replaced it. It remains to be seen how the current UDC and the newly formed AP will perform in this election in terms of the number of Members of Parliament they will garner on Wednesday.
Afrobarometer directs a pan-African, nonpartisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions, and related issues in African countries. Seven rounds of surveys were completed in up to 38 countries between 1999 and 2018. Round 8 surveys in 2019/2020 are planned in at least 35 countries. Afrobarometer conducts face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice with nationally representative samples.
The Afrobarometer team in Botswana, led by Star Awards Pty LTD, interviewed 1,200 adult Batswana in July-August 2019. A sample of this size yields country-level results with a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. Previous surveys were conducted in Botswana in 1999, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2017 and 2019.
President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has identified at least 12 cabinet ministers who form part of his long-term plans owing to their loyalty and tenacity in delivering his vision. Masisi, who will see-off his term in 2028 — provided he wins re-election in 2024 — already knows key people who will help him govern until the end of his term, WeekendPost has learnt.
Despite negative criticism towards ministers from some quarters over a number of decisions and their somewhat cold deliberations and failure to articulate government programs, Masisi is said to be a number one cheer leader of his cabinet. He is said to have more confidence in his cabinet and believes going forward they will reach the aspired levels and silence the critics.
The outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby, shares his thoughts with us as he leaves the Bench at the end of this year.
WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?
Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.
Botswana’s civil society is one of the non-state actors that could save the country’s democracy from sliding into regression, a Germany based think tank has revealed. This is according to a discussion paper by researchers at the German Development Institute who analysed the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes In Botswana.
In the paper titled “E-government and democracy in Botswana: Observational and experimental evidence on the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes,” the researchers offer a strongly worded commentary on Botswana’s ‘flawed democracy.’ The authors noted that with Botswana’s Parliament structurally – and in practice – feeble, the potential for checks and balances on executive power rests with the judiciary.