President Mokgweetsi Masisi, is reportedly drawing up his own succession plan on who could be his substantive assistant and ultimately President in 2028, and the name of Gabane-Mmankgodi, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary candidate Kagiso Mmusi, is leading the pack, Weekendpost has been informed.
Mmusi is the son to former Vice President, Peter Mmusi and he is said to be in the President’s good books. In fact, it is said, Masisi and Mmusi have always been ‘buddies’, something which the parliamentary hopeful vehemently denies. “He is my boss not my friend,” Mmusi stressed in an interview with this publication.’
Reports from highly placed sources say, Masisi is drawing up his own plan and wants to eliminate all the ‘has-beens’ with his new crop of leaders, hence why the name of Mmusi is leading. Furthermore, it is said that within the BDP, the mood is not that optimistic on the prospects of the current VP Slumber Tsogwane, winning his constituency back. This has motivated Masisi to come up with an alternate name to fill the shoes, should he lose. The same person is expected to be substantive VP who will lead this country in 2028, when Masisi vacates office.
Early last year, Tsogwane had no plans to contest the 2019 General Elections, until he was cajoled to, fueling speculation of a transitional Vice President. Those in the know say this shows that he was just a makeshift VP, who even if he could win this year will not occupy the high office in nine years to come. While the matter is still a confidential matter even within the party except for a select few, reports say the two men (Masisi and Mmusi), have met more than once in South Africa regarding the issue.
The results of the private meetings are also a secret. Initially it was expected that Masisi wanted party Secretary General Mpho Balopi, to succeed him. Again Minister of Transport and Communications Dorcas Makgato’s name, was in the mix to succeed Masisi. Masisi is facing the same predicament as former president Ian Khama regarding the post of VP. The President has lost some of his most senior cabinet ministers in the primaries.
With Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, Botlogile Tshireletso, and Unity Dow out, Masisi’s pool of Ministerial choices cannot get any shallower. Most of his senior ministers lost in Bulela Ditswe. All his Ministers including Shaw Kgathi, Tshenolo Mabeo, Nonofho Molefhi, Vincent Seretse, Alfred Madigele, Kefentse Mzwinila, Patrick Ralotsia, all lost. This has left Masisi with nothing except to look for a successor.
Talking to this publication on Thursday this week, Mmusi said he is ready to serve this country in any portfolio. “That one I can’t say much about it,” he said before laughing the matter off. “I am ready to serve in any position, be it either cabinet and or VP like you say. If my boss (Masisi), gives me a vote of confidence to serve in any portfolio, I will definitely do so. All these for me show how much people believe in me and its motivation,” he said in a telephone interview.
Mmusi who is a businessman, is said to be very close with Masisi, hence he is being identified as a possible president for this country. “He is my boss not friend, I get instructions from him. We do meet here and there, mostly on party occasions. But I wouldn’t say we have a relaxed relationship. Maybe after winning elections the relation would be better,” he maintained, as he seemingly laughed the matter off yet again.
Mmusi will be trying to wrestle the constituency from Alliance for Progressives (AP) Major General Pius Mokgware, who won it by 7155. He was then followed by BDP’s Lesedi Mmusi, who garnered 6833, with BCP’s Mzambiya Dibe on third by 3056. This year once again, the constituency is still unpredictable. Should Mmusi lose, Masisi may possibly find himself facing the same predicament as that of his immediate predecessor, Khama.
Ironically, it was the same predicament that worked in Masisi’s favor, leaving him the only preferred choice for Khama’s VP at the time. Khama’s succession plans had initially suffered a blow when his then possible candidate for VP Ramadeluka Seretse, then Minister of Defense, fell out with the President’s blue eyed boy, then Director of the Directorate of Intelligence Security Services (DISS), Isaac Kgosi. Seretse would later suffer a humiliating defeat to the now incumbent Serowe North MP Kgotla Autlwetse, in the BDP primary elections leading up to the 2014 General Elections.
With Seretse out of the picture, Khama pinned his hopes on his next choice, the then Goodhope-Mabule MP Kitso Mokaila. As fate would have it, Mokaila also suffered a devastating loss to the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) candidate James Mathokgwane, in the 2014 General Elections.
Khama pinned his hopes on former Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP), Eric Molale. Again, things did not go according to plan as Molale lost the Goodhope-Mabule Parliamentary by-election to another UDC candidate, Barolong Paramount Chief, Kgosi Lotlaamoreng. Khama was now left with the almost impossible choice of handing down the baton to his younger brother Tshekedi Khama, replacing Masisi. It was a risk he was not prepared to take. He was stuck with Masisi.
Lebang Mpotokwane, one of the conveners who presided over the opposition cooperation talks that resulted in the formation of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), has advised against changing the current umbrella model in favour of a merger as proposed by others.
The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leader, Dumelang Saleshando recently went public to propose that UDC should consider merging of all opposition parties, including Alliance for Progressives (AP) and Botswana Patriotic Front (BNF).
Saleshando has been vehemently opposed by Botswana National Front (BNF), which is in favour of maintaining the current model. BNF’s position has been favoured by the founding father of UDC, who warned that it will be too early to ditch the current model.
“UDC should be well developed to promote the spirit of togetherness on members and the members should be taught so that the merger is developed gradually. They should approach it cautiously. If they feel they are ready, they can, but it would not be a good idea,” Mpotokwane told WeekendPost this week.
Mpotokwane and Emang Maphanyane are the two men who have since 2003 began a long journey of uniting opposition parties in a bid to dethrone the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BCP) as they felt it needed a strong opposition to avoid complacency.
Tonota born Mpotokwane is however disappointed on how they have been ejected from participating in the last edition of talks ahead of the 2019 general elections in which BCP was brought on board. However, despite the ejection, Mpotokwane is not resentful to the opposition collective.
He said the vision of opposition unity was to ultimately merge the opposition parties but he believes time has not arrived yet to pursue that path. “The bigger picture was a total merger and we agreed that with three independent parties, members might be against merger eventuality so the current model should be used until a point where they are now together for as long as possible,” he said.
“UDC should gradually perform better in elections and gain confidence. They should not rush the merger. We have been meeting since 2003, but if they rush it might cause endless problems. If they are ready they can anyway,” he advised. For now the constituent parties of the umbrella have been exchanging salvos with others (BCP and BNF).
“There are good reasons for and against merging the parties. Personally, I am in favour of merging the parties (including AP and BPF) into a single formation but I know it’s a complex mission that will have its own challenges,” Saleshando said when he made his position known a week ago.
“Good luck to those advocating for a merger, it will be interesting to observe the tactics they will use to lure the BPF into a merger,” former BNF councillor for Borakalalo Ward and former BNF Youth League Secretary General, Arafat Khan, opined in relation to BCP’s proposed position.
Mpotokwane, who is currently out in the cold from the UDC since he was ejected from the party’s NEC in 2017, said the current bickering and the expected negotiations with other parties need the presence of conveners.
“We did not belong to any party as conveners so we were objective in our submissions. If party propose any progressive idea we will support, if it is not we will not, so I would agree that even now conveners might be key for neutrality to avoid biasness,” he observed. Despite being abandoned, Mpotokwane said he will always be around to assist if at all he is needed.
“If they want help I will be there, I have always been clear about it, but surely I will ask few questions before accepting that role,” he said. UDC is expected to begin cooperation talks with both AP and BPF either this week or next weekend for both upcoming bye-elections (halted by Covid-19) and 2024 general elections and it is revealed that there will be no conveners this time around.
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) moved through its lawyers to attach the property of Umbrella for Democratic (UDC) President Duma Boko and other former parliamentary contestants who failed in their court bid to overturn the 2019 general elections in 14 constituencies.
WeekendPost has established that this week, Deputy Sheriffs were commissioned by Bogopa Manewe Tobedza and Company who represented the BDP, to attach the properties of UDC elections contents in a bid to recover costs. High Court has issued a writ of execution against all petitioners, a process that has set in motion the cost recovery measures.
Botswana Sectors of Teachers Union (BOSETU) says COVID-19 as a pandemic has negatively affected the education sector by deeply disrupting the education system. The intermittent lockdowns have resulted in the halting of teaching and learning in schools.
The union indicated that the education system was caught napping and badly exposed when it came to the use of Information System (IT), technological platforms and issues of digitalisation.
“COVID-19 exposed glaring inefficiencies and deficiencies when it came to the use of ITC in schools. In view of the foregoing, we challenge government as BOSETU to invest in school ITC, technology and digitalization,” says BOSETU President Kinston Radikolo during a press conference on Tuesday.
As a consequence, the union is calling on government to prioritise education in her budgeting to provide technological infrastructure and equipment including provision of tablets to students and teachers.
“Government should invest vigorously in internet connectivity in schools and teacher’s residences if the concept of flexi-hours and virtual learning were to be achieved and have desired results,” Radikolo said.
Radikolo told journalists that COVID-19 is likely to negatively affect final year results saying that the students would sit for the final examinations having not covered enough ground in terms of curriculum coverage.
“This is so because there wasn’t any catch up plan that was put in place to recover the lost time by students. We warn that this year’s final examination results would dwindle,” he said.
The Union, which is an affiliate of Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Union (BOFEPUSU), also indicated that COVID-19’s presence as a pandemic has complicated the role of a teacher in a school environment, saying a teacher’s role has not only transcended beyond just facilitating teaching and learning, but rather, a teacher in this COVID-19 era, is also called upon to enforce the COVID-19 preventative protocols in the school environment.
“This is an additional role in the duty of a teacher that needs to be recognized by the employers. Teachers by virtue of working in a congested school environment have become highly exposed and vulnerable to COVID-19, hence the reason why BOSETU would like teachers to be regarded as the frontline workers with respect to COVID-19,” says Radikolo.
BOSETU noted that the pandemic has in large scales found its way into most of the school environments, as in thus far more than 50 schools have been affected by COVID-19. The Union says this is quite a worrying phenomenon.
“As we indicated before when we queried that schools were not ready for re-opening, it has now come to pass that our fears were not far-fetched. This goes out to tell that there is deficiency in our schools when it comes to putting in place preventative protocols. In our schools, hygiene is compromised by mere absence of sanitizers, few hand-washing stations, absence of social distancing in classes,” the Union leader said.
Furthermore, Radikolo stressed that the shifting system drastically increased the workload for teachers especially in secondary schools. He says teachers in these schools experience very high loads to an extent that some of them end up teaching up to sixty four periods per week, adding that this has not only fatigued teachers, but has also negatively affected their performance and the quality of teaching.
In what the Union sees as failure to uphold and honour collective agreements by government, owing to the shift system introduced at primary schools, government is still in some instances refusing to honour an agreement with the Unions to hire more teachers to take up the extra classes.
“BOSETU notes with disgruntlement the use of pre-school teachers to teach in the mainstream schools with due regard for their specific areas of training and their job descriptions. This in our view is a variation of the terms of employment of the said teachers,” says Radikolo.
The Union has called on government to forthwith remedy this situation and hire more teachers to alleviate this otherwise unhealthy situation. BOSETU also expressed concerns of some school administrators who continuously run institutions with iron fists and in a totalitarian way.
“We have a few such hot spot schools which the Union has brought to attention the Ministry officials such as Maoka JSS, Artesia JSS, and Dukwi JSS. We are worried that the Ministry becomes sluggish in taking action against such errant school administration. In instances where action is taken, such school administrators are transferred and rotated around schools.”