Mmegi Online :: Masisi’s impending kitchen cabinet
Last Updated
Thursday 22 February 2018, 23:12 pm.
Masisi’s impending kitchen cabinet

FRANCISTOWN: Besides being seized with the composition of his Cabinet, vice president Masisi has lately been choosing his friends wisely and cautiously.
By Ryder Gabathuse Fri 02 Feb 2018, 17:36 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Masisi’s impending kitchen cabinet

He knows that as the impending state President his friends will in turn become a set of his personal advisers otherwise known as the kitchen cabinet.

Masisi, just like his predecessors will rely on opinion and counsel of a team of his close friends. This is over and above the advice that will be rendered by the office of the Attorney General and the Cabinet.

The AG’s role is to advice the president avoid legal pitfalls that the highest office in the land may encounter in the process of discharging its functions - administrative, political and constitutional.

Outside the official set up, the president often solicits services from unofficial or quasi-official advisors or what is popularly known as the kitchen cabinet.

Masisi has his job cut for him. The practice of kitchen cabinet is not without precedent as his predecessors looked up to it to draw wisdom outside the government structures.

The president’s kitchen cabinet will always comprise of long time and trusted friends.

Former president, Festus Mogae’s kitchen cabinet comprised his trusted allies like former Debswana boss, the late Louis Nchindo, Gobe Matenge and Lawrence Lekalake amongst others.  Following a series of political and administrative blunders, Mogae would later enlist advocate Sidney Pilane as a presidential in-house legal adviser.

When President Ian Khama took over in 2008, he had his. He never announced but it became apparent that who was where in his kitchen cabinet.

Within the ranks of his party and beyond, there are few people who won Khama’s heart.

Khama placed his trust on only a few people in the party, the likes of the late former vice-president Mompati Merafhe, former BDP secretary general Jacob Nkate, attorney and BDP activist, Parks Tafa, former cabinet minister and cousin Ramadeluka Seretse, Cabinet Minister and Khama’s personal friend, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi seem privileged to have access and the ability to offer wise counsel to Khama

Beyond the party, Khama is believed to keep an inner circle of friends, predominantly drawn from ex-servicemen. These men are said to not just have the president’s eye but also have a lot of say in what happens at the OP.

Now comes Masisi’s hallowed list of his trusted men and women who will find themselves closest to the incoming president as his trusted allies.

It will definitely start small and the kitchen cabinet will grow with time and experience. Chief on Masisi’s list will be President Khama, who comes across as Masisi’s creator and mentor.

As much as Masisi would strive to be his own man, it’s not going to be easy in the early stages of his presidency. Khama’s towering figure and shadow will hover over him. Infact, it’s very natural and logical that things have to be this way in the early months of his reign.

He cannot afford the luxury of rocking the boat from the start and he would have to do and run government largely with Khama’s inherited cabinet. Save for few cosmetic changes, with time and experience, Masisi will grow in confidence and become much more bolder. That will see his kitchen cabinet growing in numbers.

Khama is the reason why there is now the possibility of a Masisi presidency. He is Khama’s creation, stuck


with him through thick and thin amid strong resistance from Cabinet colleagues.

It would be unwise for Masisi to dump Khama on day one. Besides, Khama does not understand the power of women and therefore for Masisi, with her wife Neo Jane Masisi by his side things will never be the same for him as the president bringing back the stature of the First Lady to the nation.

With his wife’s vast experience gathered here and further afield the impending First Lady is most likely to be Masisi’s number one adviser on matters of corporate governance.

Masisi’s closest and oldest in his old profession, teaching, are most likely to have a bearing on his administration. Many should be lining up for key positions in government. After all, some have mentored him in one-way or the other.

In his kitchen cabinet, Masisi has Thato Kwerepe, Assistant Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Vincent Seretse, Investment, Trade and Industry Minister, Finance Minister Kenneth Matambo, Local Government and Rural Development Minister Slumber Tsogwane, MPs, Samson Moyo Guma and Ngaka Ngaka, BDP secretary general Mpho Balopi, a councillor in Moshupa Ponatshego Tshiping, Kweneng District council chairman Jeffrey Sibisibi and Thapelo Pabalinga.

Kwerepe, a former secondary school teacher, is listed as one of Masisi’s trusted allies and even if he may not make a cut in the Masisi impending cabinet, he will always be found useful somewhere.

As for Seretse and Matambo, Mmegi is informed that these two politicians that Masisi will always refer to for wise counsel in matters of corporate governance whether in Cabinet or even outside. They will remain key in his inner circle.

Guma has already proven his worth in the Masisi political campaigns in the BDP’s last elective congress held in Tonota where he is reputed to have doled out hefty amounts of money to boost the Masisi chairmanship campaign.

On the basis of his ability to fundraise effectively, Guma has already found favour with Masisi although their relationship was initially shaky.

Balopi comes across as Masisi’s man. The duo click so much that their friendship seems to have been sealed in heaven. As the BDP chairperson, Masisi seems very comfortable with Balopi running the party secretariat than anybody else. There is a possibility that Masisi could even appoint Balopi to a cabinet position in the future.

The same applies to Pabalinga, Masisi feels very comfortable working closely with Pabalinga especially in matters of communication and publicity. He is one of the young men that Masisi will comfortably extend his ear to. Sibisibi has always been in Masisi’s inner circle. This is the man who was trusted with coordinating the last chairmanship campaign in Tonota last year, which he delivered. He is such a hard worker who has impressed his principal.

Circulating information suggests that Masisi has endorsed the Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) Isaac Kgosi. Just like his principal Khama, Masisi trusts intelligence information so much that his political life will remain incomplete without it.

Kgosi’s continuous supply of intelligence information to the OP brings him even closer to Masisi like it did to Khama as he has to interpret intelligence information.


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