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Why Masisi may never become President

Ndulamo Anthony Morima
EAGLE WATCH

Section 35(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Botswana (hereinafter referred to as the Constitution) provides that “whenever the President dies, resigns or ceases to hold office, the Vice-President shall assume office as President with effect from the date of the death, resignation or ceasing to be President”.

Section 35(1) of the Constitution is mirrored by clause 29.3.4 of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Constitution which provides that “in the event of a vacancy arising in the Presidency of the party at a time when the party is in power, the Vice President of Botswana shall automatically become the State and Party President”.  

In terms of the aforesaid constitutional provisions should His Excellency (HE) the President, Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, die, resign or cease to hold office His Honour (HH) the Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, shall automatically assume office as President.  

No wonder HH Masisi has defied tradition and has been buoyant in stating that he shall be President when HE Khama retires, presumably on 31st March 2018. But, is it a foregone conclusion that HH Masisi will be President? In this article, we argue that it is not a foregone conclusion.

Firstly, the BDP government may, at the instance of the anti-Masisi camp, amend the Constitution and repeal the automatic succession clause before 31st March 2018. This is possible considering the fact that there are many in the BDP who believe that HH Masisi was handed the Vice Presidency before he was politically mature. This camp believes that HH Masisi lacks the political gravitas to lead the BDP to victory in 2019.

Many believe that the reason the President went to court after the 2014 general elections to attempt to retain the Parliamentary Standing Orders which provided for voting for the Vice President, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly to be done by show of hands is that he feared that if voting is by secret ballot HH Masisi would not be endorsed by Parliament owing to his lack of popular support.  

Second, the BDP, still at the instance of the anti-Masisi camp, may amend clause 29.1 of its Constitution before 31st March 2018. Clause 29.1 of the BDP Constitution provides that “when the party is in power the President of the party shall be elected by secret ballot at the National Congress of the party called by the Central Committee during every general election year…” In the same breath, the BDP could also amend clause 29.3.4 aforesaid.

If clauses 29.1 and 29.3.4 of the BDP Constitution are amended to provide that elections for the President of the Party are held before the incumbent party President steps down as State President and to bring an end to automatic succession, HH Masisi would not succeed HE Khama via automatic succession if he loses the party presidential elections.

As per clause 29.3.2 of the BDP Constitution it is the winner of the party presidential elections who will succeed the state president. Clause 29.3.2 of the BDP Constitution provides that “the person so elected, if other than the incumbent, shall be styled the President Designate of the party, becoming the Party President upon the predecessor lawfully vacating that position. The President Designate shall become the Party’s Presidential candidate in the forthcoming national elections.”           

The question is: can anyone beat HH Masisi for the BDP presidency? Reportedly, those who wish to challenge HH Masisi for the presidency are Tshekedi Khama II, Nonofo Molefhi, Jacob Nkate, Ramadeluka Seretse, Tebelelo Seretse and Robert Masitara.

There is no doubt that if Minister of Environment, Wildlife & Tourism, Honourable Tshekedi Khama II, decides to challenge HH Masisi he is likely to win the BDP presidency by mere fact of being HE Khama’s brother. Those who believe Tshekedi Khama II should challenge HH Masisi believe that considering the strength of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), especially if it were to enter into a coalition with the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), it is only Tshekedi Khama II who can assure the BDP of victory in 2019.

Reportedly, the other serious threat to HH Masisi’s ascension to the presidency is Minister of Infrastructure, Science & Technology, Honourable Nonofo Molefhi, who has the support of many in the BDP as shown by the many votes he garnered at the Mmadinare congress where he was elected Additional Member. In fact, some highly placed sources in the BDP Central Committee claim that he was HE Khama’s first choice of Vice President, but he declined the offer.

But the truth is that if Tshekedi Khama II stands Nonofo Molefhi is unlikely to win. The same applies to Jacob Nkate who, despite having been party Secretary General and held various ministerial portfolios and is currently serving as Botswana’s ambassador to Japan until October 2016, would still fall short because of the Khama factor.
 
Considering Ngwato tradition and practice, Ramadeluka Seretse and Tebelelo Seretse, though strong contenders in their own right, are unlikely to beat their Chief’s younger brother, Tshekedi Khama II. Also, considering the gender stereotypes that still bedevil our society, as a woman, Tebelelo Seretse is unlikely to be elected president. As an outsider, former Member of Parliament (MP) for Gaborone West North, Robert Masitara’s chances are almost non-existent.

Third, HE Khama may, in terms of sections 34(1) and (3) of the Constitution, serve as President until the election of the President after the 2019 general elections. Section 34(1) of the Constitution provides that “the President shall, subject to the provision of this section, hold office for an aggregate period not exceeding 10 years beginning from the date of his first assumption of office of President after the commencement of this Act.”

Section 34 (3) of the Constitution provides that “the President shall cease to hold office of President at the expiry of the period prescribed under subsection (1) of this section, or when the person elected at the next election of President following a dissolution of Parliament assumes office”.

Consequently, HE Khama is not compelled by the Constitution to leave office on 31st March 2018 as some may believe. That HE Khama’s predecessor, HE Festus Mogae, left office before the general elections was a mere practice set by the BDP to allow its Vice President to succeed the President in order to enhance its chances of success at the general elections.

If HE Khama serves the rest of his term as president, HH Masisi will have to win the BDP presidential elections before he can become the State President. And as shown above, he is unlikely to win such elections, especially if he stands against Honourable Tshekedi Khama II, even Honourable Nonofo Molefhi.

Therefore, when all is said and done HH Masisi may only really serve as a regent for HE Khama’s brother, Tshekedi Khama II. HE Khama is not known for abandoning his own and I am still not convinced that he will really leave office without any plan for his brothers.

Even HE Khama’s other brother, Anthony Khama, who is Tshekedi Khama II’s twin brother,  is likely to be brought into the equation through the Specially Elected Member of Parliament (SEMP) provision. This is probably the reason why the BDP plans to increase the number of SEMPs as well as cabinet ministers and assistant ministers.    

Fourth, even if HH Masisi wins the BDP presidential elections, the BDP is likely to lose the 2019 general elections to the UDC, especially if the UDC enters into a coalition with the BCP and the Botswana Federation of Public Service Unions(BOFEPUSU) does not suffer further loses after Botswana Public Employees Union(BOPEU)’s disaffiliation.  

In the result, HH Masisi may be well advised that instead of creating enemies by asserting that he will be President when HE Khama leaves office, he should spend his efforts in unifying the party behind him and coming up with meaningful strategies to attract the voters who did forsake it for the UDC in 2014.

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020
JEFF---Batswana-smoke-unit

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).

This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.

In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.

Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?

Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.

POSITIVITY
Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.

“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)

We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”

UNDERSTANDING

Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.

Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be.  You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”

COMMITMENT

Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.

When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.

ACCEPTANCE

Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.

However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.”
“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)

COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT

Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.

It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.

Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.

Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

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