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I hate politics – Lt. Gen. Masire

Former Botswana Defense Force (BDF) Commander Tebogo Masire has indicated that he hates politics and has no intention of standing for political office.

Masire became active in politics at the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) following his retirement in 2012 after being Commander ever since 2006.

Weekend Post this week established that a cluster of BDP foot soldiers at Masire’s home village, Kanye are covertly lobbying for him to stand for the 2019 General Elections at Kanye South.

In fact, it’s not the first time the activists have lobbied him, prior to the 2014 General Elections, less than 2 years into his retirement they approached him but he turned the offer down on grounds that he was “not ready to contest”.

“You will recall that he was influenced in 2014 but refused to stand on grounds that he was not prepared as he had just retired,” a BDP source in the area told this publication on Thursday.

“The problem was that he was not familiar with the constituency so he needed time to sell himself before the electorates,” the source further explained.

In 2014, Kanye South pitted Dr. Lemogang Kwape and the youthful Thato Baruti in the BDP primary election with soft spoken Kwape emerging victorious although he was later to be humiliated by the combative Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC)’s Abram Kesupile who triumphed at the General Elections.

According to the BDP activist in the area probabilities are that Kanye South may be split in the BDP’s bid to expand the number of constituencies. He said a motion is expected to pass swiftly before next parliament session, and Masire may contest in one of the constituencies that will be riven at Kanye South.

Sparking debate that he may be enticing potential electorates, and through his THC (initials for his names Tebogo Horatious Carter) foundation, the 4th commander was spotted last year December at Moshaneng village during Christmas hosting orphans and old age destitutes, an event he confirmed to this publication.

At Moshaneng, he donated hampers, sweets, goodies, drinks and chocolates to more than 70 needy kids and provided 40 old aged folks with groceries which included sugar, bread flour, tea packs, sorghum meal and washing powder among others proving that he may be spending the rest of his life in community service as he says he enjoys making a difference to other people’s lives.

Some in the party believe that the Motebejana born is already positioning himself and gearing up for the upcoming elections.      

On the contrary, Masire, who is a cousin to former president Sir Ketumile Masire, told Weekend Post this week in an interview that he detests the idea of running for political elections.

“I hate political elections, I hate running for public office,” he said before declaring that he is and remains a BDP activist – although he will not run for office.

According to Masire, who came after Matshwenyego Fisher, Ian Khama and Mompati Merafhe at the barracks, all who later joined active politics save for Fisher, he is “disturbed by the current trend of politics as it’s not appealing at all” hence his stance not to stand.

“The current trend of politics doesn’t excite me, it is not something I will get into,” he declared to this publication.  

He has been seen in recent BDP events with his wife Orefitlhetse who holds the position of treasurer in the BDP Women’s Wing as they both grew in the party.

While still Commander at BDF, Masire irked some opposition politicians after uttering what they regarded as political insinuations in 2011 during the notorious public servants strike which prompted a joint statement from the then opposition leaders.

At that time, in 2010, his contract had just been extended by President Khama for another 2 years under controversial circumstances. He was to retire that year (2010) as he had reached the mandatory retirement age of 55.

According to the joint statement, penned by the then leader of opposition, representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) Botsalo Ntuane, Botswana Congress Party (BCP)’s Dumelang Saleshando and Botswana National Front (BNF)’s Isaac Mabiletsa, Masire had crossed the line into partisanship while still holding public office.

“An examination of the remarks in question clearly demonstrates that by attacking opposition politicians and falsely accusing them of inciting BDF officers to stage a mutiny during the recent public sector strike, General Masire deliberately crossed the line into active partisan politics,” they stated.

The trio continued to point out that they do not recall any instance in the history of this country when a BDF Commander has ever assumed such a partisan political posture in favour of the ruling party.

“In conclusion, we challenge General Masire   to retract his words and tender an apology to opposition politicians. Should he fail to do  so, we extend an invitation to him to resign his post, discard the uniform which he wears  with such great honour, and join active politics; his new  found passion. We can assure a civilian Masire that we will be ready for him at the freedom squares,” the trio had said back then.

However, fresh information suggests that the retired Masire will not be contesting for any political position in the foreseeable future.

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Free at last: Ian Kirby Speaks Out

6th December 2021
Justice Ian Kirby

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.

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Civil society could rescue Botswana’s flawed democracy’ 

6th December 2021
Parliament

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.

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Bangwato at loggerheads over Moshupa trip

6th December 2021

Bangwato in Serowe — where Bamagwato Paramount Chief and former President Lt. Gen Ian Khama originates – disagree on whether they must send a delegation to dialogue with President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s family in Moshupa. Just last week, a meeting was called by the Regent of Bamagwato, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane, at Serowe Kgotla to, among others, update the tribe on the whereabouts of their Kgosi (Khama). 

Further, his state of health was also discussed, with Kgamane telling the attendees that all is well with Khama. The main reason for the meeting was to deliberate on the escalating tension between Khama and Masisi — a three-year bloodletting going unabated.

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