President Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi has finally come clean on his ongoing tiff with former President Lt Gen Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama. The President last week shared with the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Members of Parliament that the reason behind his fallout with his predecessor lies on his choice of Vice President of the land.
President Masisi is now spilling it out for the public to consume and make own assessment and judgement. He expressed his disappointment at the BDP MPs caucus last week indicating that Khama had wanted him to appoint Tshekedi Khama, his brother as the Vice President of the country when he ascended to the Presidency in April this year.
However President Masisi has not taken the bate and became his own man, extending a hand to long serving Member of Parliament and a well-known disciplined BDP cadre, Slumber Tsogwane to become his right hand man. Tsogwane, a man who speaks only when he is asked to do so, was endorsed by 36 BDP Members of Parliament sealing President Masisi’s somewhat turbulent transition.
President Masisi has indicated that this is the source of his conflict with Khama because the rest of the other matters arising are prescribed in the law. Masisi has vowed to live by the rule book, which is the constitution. Some of the trajectories which were said to have incensed Khama include the removal of Colonel Isaac Seabelo Kgosi as Director General of the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS).
Former President Khama had also complained about the ill-treatment he was getting from Permanent Secretary to the President, Carter Morupisi. At some stage Morupusi instructed Debswana not allow former President Khama to board their aircraft, Khama had to charter one at a cost of P50 000. Khama has also been blackout from Government media. But all these are just side issues, according to President Masisi’s statement to BDP MPs, the main query is Tshekedi Khama.
Masisi first made a public record of his differences with former President Khama in his State of the Nation Address on November 5th. Concluding his address on Monday, Masisi finally admitted to Khama animosity: “Batswana are all aware that the transition from the previous administration has not been as smooth as expected. … However, it ought to be noted, I have in my attempt to smoothen the process engaged senior citizens namely; His Excellency Dr. Festus Mogae, His Honour Dr. Ponatshego Kedikilwe, Honourable Ray Molomo, Honourable Patrick Balopi and Honourable David Magang to assist and lead in smoothening the transition. I regret to announce that their efforts have not borne fruit up to this point.”
In his response to President Masisi’s statement former president Khama said he was shocked. He expressed that what happened in the SONA was probably Masisi trying to reason why up to now there has not been any progress in the reconciliation. “Is there any sincerity, genuineness and commitment in reconciliation if this kind of actions are still perpetuated,” Khama asked rhetorically.
The former president said quite recently the Office of the President wrote an apology and reimbursed him his flight costs to Orapa and was very much impressed. “It is regrettable that the statement given on the occasion of the SONA about the situation concerning two parties (Khama/ Masisi) reflected only one side without consultation with the other in order to give the nation a balanced perspective of progress on reconciliation or the lack,” reads part of the statement released by office of the former president Tuesday afternoon.
The former president’s own version of events is that the transition went very smoothly as acknowledged both locally and internationally in that it was a transition from an incumbent leader to his successor. The transition according to Khama took place in the period leading up to the 1st April 2018 when Masisi became President and Khama a former President. That is when the transition ended. The period after the 1st April to date is post the transition as the leadership change had already taken place.
The standoff between President Masisi and former president Khama has polarized the nation and the impact of their cold war is hitting on the ruling party, with loyalists finding themselves having to defend either of the two leaders. Some observers further point to the possibility of the ruling BDP splitting for the second time in a space of six years.
Meanwhile almost all BDP MPs and ministers at the caucus advised President Masisi to meet with the former President so that they can iron out their differences. They expressed fear that the animosity between President Masisi and former President Khama could hurt the BDP at next year’s general elections which are mostly likely to be hotly contested. A resolute appearing President Masisi, according to some who spoke on condition of anonymity did not seem shaken because he did not respond back to the MPs request.
Khama has been accused of tried to pull a Vladimir Putin on Botswana – exiting the Presidency, appointing his own man and later returning to the same seat. On the other hand others have pointed accusing fingers at Khama for trying to establish a tribacracy ever since retiring from Presidency. Former President Khama has addressed a number of Kgotla meetings at which the purpose of those was put to question by some who feared he could be creating two centres of power.
Questions have been thrown to the table as to what hat Khama uses to convene the kgotla meetings – former head of state or kgosi. Some have also wondered what the role of Bangwato regent, Kgosi Kgamane could be at this stage and what form of handover was done to give some of the responsibilities back to Kgosi Seretse Khama Ian Khama.
In his response former President Khama has told this publication that he is Kgosikgolo and has every right to convene a kgotla meeting. He also pointed out that Kgotla meetings can be convened by a number of authorities including Village Development Committees, dikgosi, Councils, Members of Parliament, among others.
The feud between President Masisi and former President Khama is likely to last a bit longer and is now attracting analysis and prophesies that project untidy sceneries for Botswana in the not so distant future. The BDP finds itself having to confront realities it has never fathomed, fears are that for the first time in a long time a sitting BDP leader could be challenged. But some BDP diehards are still hopeful that the party culture where the President is never challenged on election year is preserved.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.