Of retired presidents, their benefits and the dysfunctional BDP Caucus!

Regrets, President Mokgweetsi Masisi has one. Social media watchers tuned in on June 7, 2019 to hear President Masisi detail a statement of regret on the 2017 decision by Parliament to amend the President Pensions and Retirement Act.

In one of the biggest surprises pulled off by any leader, Masisi acknowledged making ‘a big mistake’ and went further to state, barring the amendment, government would be in a position to ‘suspend former President Ian Khama’s benefits for engaging in active politics again because he has essentially retired’.  The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Caucus in Parliament used its majority to amend Section 6 (2) of the Act and a bit part in the Schedule of the Act. The deleted section provided for the suspension of pension or benefits of a former president for directly or indirectly holding any paid office of the State or private sector. Such benefits would remain suspended until such time the affected ex-president ceased to hold such form of employment. Changes in the Schedule of the Act introduced access to any ‘government owned modes of transport’ subject to approval of the sitting President. 

Under the stewardship of then vice president, Masisi as Leader of the House, the BDP Caucus vehemently warded off warnings by opposition on supposedly legislating into law benefits that seemingly appeared to suit Khama. MPs Wynter Mmolotsi and Phenyo Butale made telling contributions with the BDP Caucus ultimately crushing opposition to pass the amended Act of 2017. From then onwards, it became the law.

Editor's Comment
Botswana deserves ideal political leaders

This remains to be seen, particularly as opposite unity has been seeing its ups and downs. In 2012, three opposition parties namely the Botswana National Front (BNF), the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), and the Botswana National Front (BNF) formed a political alliance under the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) would, after rebuffs, join the coalition in 2017.The promise made by the coalition to its...

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