Before Mokgweetsi Masisi was crowned President in 2018, he had affable brotherly relationship with former Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leader Gilson Saleshando, but all that broke down when Masisi started showing symptoms identical to other African leaders, the senior Saleshando has told WeekendPost.
In an interview this week, Saleshando highlights how disappointed he is with a President who he initially thought would be the game changer. “A lot of things happened and we are no longer in talking terms but we used to be very close,” he said before chronicling events as they happened over time.
In fact cracks in the relationship began to show in 2018 when Saleshando declined Masisi’s overture to be part of the entourage that will travel to Zambia where Masisi was to officiate at an agricultural show. “I refused the Zambian trip because to me it was a waste of taxpayers’ money for an event that was not going to benefit the citizenry,” he said.
Since then Masisi never talked to Saleshando as it was the norm; and the latter also decided not to; “because I realised that he was a wolf in a sheep’s skin”. “It appears since he became President his wealth accumulation is ballooning and that to me is very concerning and I decided to be distant. From where I stand he is sleeping and eating corruption just like other African leaders,” said the two-term legislator.
From Saleshando’s perspective, Masisi is not walking the talk when it comes to the motto of ‘zero tolerance for corruption’ which was his election catchphrase. “If you look at appointments of land board members across the country, it will show you that he says something and acts differently or otherwise. How can it be coincidence that all the members of the land boards are from BDP?” he asked rhetorically.
Another issue which tormented the former Selibe Phikwe West legislator is the P2 million gift President Masisi received while campaigning for Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) 2017 chairmanship. “This was a sign that the nation will be led by someone who can receive financial gifts from businessmen and it is not acceptable,” says Saleshando who is currently among Wayei elders fighting for recognition of their Kgosi.
Choppies founder and acting CEO, Farouk Ismail confirmed in an affidavit last year that he donated P2 million to President Masisi’s 2017 chairmanship campaign and another P2 million to the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in 2014, as part of sponsorship for the ruling party, money which he says were very clean. President Masisi’s acquisition of Banyana Farms is another factor that pushed the veteran opposition politician further away.
“He was not supposed to bid because of his position and influence because automatically he would be given the land against other qualifying natives; secondly he was interviewed at his plush office [State house] a privilege other bidders were not accorded. That was not right because he might have even intimidated the interviewers,” Saleshando said.
Apart from the Banyana farms issues; Saleshando is also distrustful of Masisi’s presidency to the extent that he believes his predecessor Lt Gen Ian Khama fared better than him. “Comparatively Khama was better, Masisi is more like other African leaders he is very close to them; and even if things are not going in the right direction he cannot speak against them. Khama was outspoken he would reprimand and air his opinions especially when human rights were violated but Masisi is eating with those that violate humanity.”
A case in point is violence against civilians by Zimbabwean police and soldiers early this year, that was supposed to be strongly condemned by the government of Botswana led by Masisi, Saleshando posits.
Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.
Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.
Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.
The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.
According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.
Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead. According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.
“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.
The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.
The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.
Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.
The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.
Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty. “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.