Mmegi Online :: Masisi keeps the nation guessing
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Last Updated
Monday 12 November 2018, 16:14 pm.
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Masisi keeps the nation guessing

The nation is waiting with baited breath as to what the incoming president Mokgweetsi Masisi will announce as his pet project (s) in his inaugural speech on April 1, 2018. Mmegi Staff Writer RYDER GABATHUSE reports that Masisi might choose to continue Khama’s legacy of poverty eradication and Presidential Housing Appeal in a more polished manner
By Ryder Gabathuse Fri 02 Mar 2018, 18:10 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Masisi keeps the nation guessing








FRANCISTOWN: Masisi is expected to give the nation his roadmap ahead of his mandatory two five-year terms if his ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) will continue to win the general elections.

It’s this roadmap, which will determine what he has up his sleeves for the nation and most importantly, it will reflect his passion in the process of service delivery to the nation.

This is not anything new because Masisi’s predecessors were subjected to the same treatment. In a bigger way, it has helped the nation to hold its leadership accountable against the set targets. The President’s roadmap is not just the wishes of the speechwriters, but his commitment to deliver by setting achievable targets. This actually creates legitimate expectation from the nation.

At the completion of his term, it’s these set targets that are used to determine whether the President has made it or not during his tenure of office.

So, the state President in essence has a choice to fulfill his targets whilst in office and deliver as per the set targets as time might run out before making it. In Botswana, the openness by the sitting president upon assuming office to state his roadmap has helped a great deal in fulfilling the requirements of democracy, as people are able to make their assessments whether the president has performed accordingly or not.

It’s the commitment by the incoming president, which provides a platform to monitor and assess the performance of the incumbent.

Well, the nation might be disappointed as Masisi might choose not to offer anything new but perpetuate his principal, President Ian Khama’s legacy by extending his (Khama’s) pet projects of poverty eradication and the infamous Presidential Housing Appeal.

Having been in charge of Khama’s pet project of poverty eradication, during his sojourn as the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Masisi is more or less the architect of the projects; hence he might identify himself more with it.

Masisi might take over from where Khama had left in terms of the pet projects. Yes, he might polish the ongoing projects to suit the current times and his interest, 10 years later.

During former president Festus Mogae’s tenure of office, he chose the fight against HIV/AIDS as his pet project at a time when the nation was ravaged by the scourge.

Mogae globetrotted and appealed for assistance around the world, and benchmarked from the nations that succeeded in the fight against HIV/AIDS to help his country manage the virus.

Botswana’s case in the fight against the HIV/AIDS scourge received the attention that it deserved and today Botswana is far ahead of peers.

Upon taking over in 2008, President Khama did not want to be left behind especially after learning lessons from Mogae. Khama’s roadmap of his presidency was predicated upon the Five Ds.

There was a lot of hype about Khama’s Five Ds- Democracy, Discipline, Dignity, Development and Delivery. In the bigger picture, the Five Ds were adopted with a view to ensuring job creation and poverty creation so that people could lead a dignified life. But the Five Ds died a natural death before they could achieve the intended plans.

Some political commentators were adamant that they long saw the collapse of the Khama roadmap as he simply set his eyes on smaller projects like backyard gardens when the picture of the country challenges was far much bigger and complex than that.

Masisi

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may choose to polish the poverty eradication and housing appeal projects so that they may suit his interests as he wants to see the projects succeeding by hook or crook. He probably holds the view that if the projects have failed, they did so under Khama and not under him, so he better give it a try.

It was whilst Masisi was driving the poverty eradication project that waist coats became very popular and earned themselves the name “nyeletso lehuma” or poverty eradication. Perhaps, this was in recognition of the commitment of Masisi and his team at the OP and across the districts.

 Masisi’s coming into office is going to coincide with the workers’ strong conciliatory move with the government, which is already presenting him and his government as more consultative and now speaking with an accommodative tone than Khama’s.

The image that Masisi is going to continue projecting in the public domain is going to be more reconciliatory whilst in the party he may choose to purge the Khama elements in an endeavour to make his presence felt. There is just a likelihood that Masisi may open up the All Party Conference, which collapsed under Khama and present himself as more democratic than his predecessor.

The All Party Conference was a platform that offered all the political parties in the country an opportunity to share ideas in a more relaxed manner than at Parliament. University of Botswana (UB) political scientist, Leonard Sesa thinks during Masisi’s tenure as the Vice President, he was given so many portfolios to run. He feels Masisi is likely to pick his very best out of the rest.

“ I see him carrying a bag full, but he is yet to open it. I don’t see him choosing any from the many portfolios as he didn’t excel in anyone of them in particular,” observes Sesa indicating that he was rather expecting a surprise from Masisi.

Without a surprise, he wonders what Masisi will really do. “He is likely to continue with the Khama projects. Otherwise, he runs the risk of cutting and pasting ideas without initiating anything of his own.” “Look at the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa.

He is doing a lot to ensure that the right things are put into place. We expect a lot from Masisi so that we can see amongst others his independence from Khama,” said Sesa, adding that Masisi had a lot of time preparing to take over as the fifth President.

“It will be a disappointment if he can simply continue with the Khama legacy without introducing his own ideas,” observed Sesa.

The BDP chairperson for the Communications and International Relations Sub Committee, Thapelo Pabalinga said it was difficult to second-guess what Masisi will choose to pursue as his pet project upon resuming state presidency.

Pabalinga seemingly has an idea and it’s only that he strongly feels he is not the right person to communicate Masisi’s passion to the public.

“Masisi is still the Vice President as there is a sitting president. He is not going to make any policy shift pronouncements now, he will make the announcement at the right time,” emphasised Pabalinga, stating that Masisi had made this point before.

He fears that if Masisi could continue making possible policy shift announcements, it could undermine the authority of the sitting president preferring to wait for April 1, 2018.

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