FRANCISTOWN: Former president Ian Khama castigated his successor Mokgweetsi Masisi during the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) rally on Saturday for allegedly stifling democracy in Botswana.
Delivering his speech at a well-attended BPF rally at the Old Francistown Stadium on a chilly afternoon, Khama said Masisi’s term of office as the country’s President is coming to an abrupt end after the upcoming general elections in October.
The BPF founder and patron claimed that Masisi is fond of harassing him and activists of other political parties like Duma Boko of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Biggie Butale of BPF, Ignatius Moswaane of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and other Batswana, using lawfare.
Lawfare refers to the use of domestic laws and public institutions to intentionally damage an opponent, win a public relations victory, financially cripple an opponent, or tying up the opponent’s time so that they cannot pursue other ventures such as running for public office properly.
He said Masisi was only left with about six weeks to enjoy harassing him.
Khama said: “The winds of change that the BPF is longing for are blowing. On October 24 there will be three former presidents. Two of them, myself and Festus Mogae, have retired after serving our mandatory two five-year terms in office, while one, Mokgweetsi Masisi, will create history by being the only President who will lose an election without even having served a single term of office after he succeeded me”.
Should Khama’s prophesy that Masisi and BDP would lose the upcoming general elections come to pass, those who attended the 2017 BDP congress in Tonota would remember that at the said congress where the Khama-Masisi axis vanquished the Nonofho Molefhi alliance, Khama jokingly said that Masisi should be careful not to make history by becoming the first president of Botswana to lose elections without even having started a full five-year term in office.
Then, Khama and Masisi were bosom buddies and it was widely believed that after Masisi assumed the highest office in the land, he would not upset the applecart but continue with Khama’s programmes and legacy. The opposite happened after Masisi assumed office – a situation that some analysts believe played a major part in
Khama also told the fully packed stadium that since he left the presidency, the country’s democratic space has been shrinking by the day.
However, some people would take Khama’s words with a pinch of salt.
During Khama’s reign, some people said they were not free to express themselves because agents of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) were eavesdropping on their conversations.
They added that state security apparatus, especially agents of the then dreaded DIS, were harassing them with impunity.
He said: “There is no D
(democracy) in the acronym BDP hence our democracy in Botswana is under threat. Masisi has sold this country to China. We don’t want Botswana to be a province of China like Hong Kong. China has killed Botswana’s democracy. So I want you to create history by removing the BDP from power after the elections. BDP has started to bore us.
I urge you to vote BPF and UDC candidates during the elections. Please go and read their manifestos so that you can correctly explain them to the electorates”.
Khama continued with his diatribe against Masisi and BDP even pleading with a Btv cameraman to capture what he referred to as his message to Masisi and not delete the clip afterwards.
“Your job Masisi is to serve the people of Botswana. It is not their job to serve you. You are not in your position to serve yourself. You are there to serve the nation. Ke kopa gore o tlogele go twaela Batswana (I am asking you to stop undermining Batswana),” said Khama.
Just like what BPF president Biggie Butale said during the party’s manifesto launch at Tati River Lodge that morning, Khama reiterated the BPF is in a strategic alliance with the UDC with the aim of toppling BDP from power.
The ex-president also reiterated that he would make sure that opposition candidates prevail against some BDP parliamentary candidates who are on his hitlist like Dorcas Makgato, vice president Slumber Tsogwane and Francisco Kgoboko.