Botswana Congress Party (BCP) President and former Leader of Opposition, Dumelang Saleshando has dismissed Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s political credentials, saying he has no legacy to speak of.
Speaking to this publication on Thursday, Saleshando said Masisi is the first vice president in the history of Botswana to proclaim himself as the next president. “None of the previous vice presidents declared himself as the next president,” he said. “It shows Masisi lacks confidence and knows that there are many in the BDP who could challenge him.”
Saleshando, who served two terms as MP, said Masisi is proclaiming himself as the next president to ward off competition from potential challengers because he has no record of achievement to speak for him.
He said the elevation of Masisi to presidency in 2018 will be an advantage to opposition because politically speaking Masisi is weak. “BDP will be at its weakest and it will be led by the weakest president in its history,” he remarked.
The former Gaborone Central Member of Parliament (MP) pointed out that, Masisi has no legacy to speak of ever since being appointed Assistant Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration following the 2009 general elections. “Masisi has headed the most powerful ministries [Ministry of State President and Ministry of Education] in the executive yet he has no legacy to show off,” he contended.
Saleshando said opposition parties have no reason to fear Masisi because of his track record in politics.
BCP is currently engaging Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) for cooperation with the view of ending BDP’s 54 year rule.
Masisi has been tasked with spearheading BDP’s ambitious plan known as Economic Stimulus Package (ESP), which seeks among others to stimulate the economy and create more jobs.
Saleshando said the hyped ESP will decide Masisi’s destiny and possibly lead to his downfall. “Before the end of this year, the glorified ESP will prove to be a disaster,” he said.
Masisi has confidently told this publication that ESP will transform the economy and address problems such as unemployment.
Masisi was exalted to the position of Vice President in November 2014 following the 2014 general elections in which BDP retained power amid worst electoral performance.
Masisi rose through the ranks, initially as Assistant Minister in the Office of the President, before being appointed a full minister at the beginning of 2011 following the departure of Lesego Motsumi, who resigned to take an ambassadorial post in India.
In 2014, in a total cabinet re-shuffle, Masisi was moved to lead Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD). He was again appointed to the Ministry subsequent to 2014 general elections, before assuming the Vice Presidency.
Reports were thick that Masisi is merely a stopgap and may be replaced before President Lieutenant General Ian Khama leaves office in 2019. Masisi has since quashed such reports, affirming that he will succeed Khama in 2019.
President Khama will leave office at the end of March in 2018, nearly two years from now. If he succeeds Khama, Masisi will become the Botswana’s fifth President since independence and the second after Mogae to have served only one term as vice president before assuming the throne.
Sources close to the BDP indicated that a number of leading figures within the BDP are readying to challenge Masisi in 2019. Names like; Tshekedi Khama, Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism and President Khama’s brother has been tipped to challenge Masisi.
Nonofo Molefhi, Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology has also been touted as a serious challenger to Masisi in 2019. Molefhi was reportedly the popular choice amongst BDP MPs to become vice president, however Khama chose Masisi instead.
Former party factionalist and Khama’s ally Jacob Nkate has also been peddle as potential presidential candidate in 2019.
According to BDP constitution Article 29.1, when the party is in power, the President of the party shall be elected by secret ballot at a National Congress of the party called by the central committee during every general election year.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katholo has revealed why he took a decision to engage private lawyers against the State. The DCEC boss engaged Monthe and Marumo Attorneys in his application to interdict the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing files and dockets in the custody of the corruption busting agency.
In his affidavit, Katholo says that by virtue of my appointment as the Director General of the DCEC, he is obliged to defend the administration and operational activities of the DCEC. He added that, “I have however been advised about a provision in the State Proceedings Act which grants the authority of public institution to undertake legal proceedings to the Attorney General.” Katholo contends that the provision is not absolute and the High Court may in the exercise of its original jurisdiction permit such, like in this circumstance authorise such proceedings to be instituted by the DCEC or its Director General.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has gone through transformation over the years, with new faces coming and going, but some figures have become part and parcel of the furniture at Tsholetsa House. From founding in 1962, BDP has seen five leaders changing the baton during the party’s 60 years of existence. The party has successfully contested 12 general elections, albeit the outcome of the last polls were disputed in court.
While party splits were not synonymous with the BDP for the better part of its existence, the party suffered two splits in the last 12 years; the first in 2010 when a Barataphathi faction broke ranks to found the now defunct Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). The Barataphathi faction was in the main protesting the ill-treatment of then recently elected party secretary general, Gomolemo Motswaledi, who had been suspended ostensibly for challenging the authority of then president, Ian Khama.
Mr Abdoola has known Mr. Uzair Razi for many years from the time he was a young boy. Uzair’s father, Mr Razi Ahmed, was the head of BCCI Bank in Botswana and “a very good man,” his close associates say.
Uzair and his wife went to settle in Dubai, the latter’s birthplace. He stayed in touch and was working for a real estate company owned by Mr. Sameer Lakhani. “Our understanding is that Uzair approached Mr. Abdoola to utilize their services for any property-related interests in Dubai. He did some work for Mr.Abdoola and others in the Botswana business community,” narrates a friend of Mr Abdoola.