In his search for the Vice President upon ascending to the presidency next April, Mokgweetsi Masisi will have to look for a mature politician who is also a shrewd administrator to be his Vice President. Mmegi Staff Writers RYDER GABATHUSE & BAME PIET insist that Masisiĺs VP must be a unifying factor who can also help him fight off intra-party challenges and the threats posed by the opposition in and off Parliament
In the immediate period when he tests the waters at the Office of the President as the first citizen between April 1 and the 2019 general elections, Masisi needs a strong Vice President who will help revive the party that is facing dwindling popular vote. After getting 46.7% of the popular vote in the last general elections, the transition period will be crucial for the survival of Masisi’s presidency and the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
The departure of Masisi from the VP office and State House No. 2 will open a gap as it was during his tenure that he took the opposition head on during debates in Parliament as the Leader of the House and at freedom squares, his accelerated recruitment drive targeting opposition activists are well documented and his VP should be of his calibre.
It goes without saying that it is actually around this time that the BDP politicians play smart cards in an endeavour to endear themselves to the party heavyweights and the appointing authority. Below, is a list of potential contenders for the VP in no particular order.
Masisi might settle for Venson-Moitoi as she has every trait that qualifies her for the job of VP. The gender card might raise her chances to the number two spot, as Botswana is yet to have a woman VP. Besides political maturity and that she is both intellectually and administratively solid, Venson-Moitoi, who is a senior minister, might make the cut in the quest for Masisi to achieve the north/south regional balance since she is also from a stable Serowe South constituency.
Venson-Moitoi’s credentials were put to test in her current position as Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation where she continues to perform with aplomb. Given her vast knowledge in administration, Masisi might benefit from her wealth of experience and wise counsel on matters of governance generally. Her Serowe South constituency has been very safe under her.
Venson-Moitoi has served in several ministries such as Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Education and Skills Development. She is very diplomatic, never displays her emotions and very skilled in handling crisis, as well as taking head-on opposition MPs who have become so sophisticated in recent elections.
Masisi might choose Makgato and utilise her strength. She
She has so far proved herself to be a stable administrator as a Cabinet member. Her stay at both Investment, Trade and Industry formerly Ministry of Trade and Industry and current Minister of Health and Wellness demonstrates trust heaped upon her. She also heads the BDP’s powerful Women’s Wing. By virtue of being the chairperson of the Women’s Wing, she sits in the powerful BDP Central Committee.
In the BDP family, she has fitted like a hand to glove and her performance as a legislator for Sefhare-Ramokgonami presents her as an asset to the party. The only obstacle that she will have to overcome is the seemingly not-so-good relation between her and Masisi. Masisi will have to prove himself that he can rise above personal differences and appoint Makgato on merit if she meets the requirements, which she does.
She has headed Botswana National Sports Council, Botswana Export Development and Investment Agency (BEDIA), which was mandated with bringing investors to the country before it was merged with the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) to form the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre.
His demeanour presents him as a quiet politician who ensures that things are done in his docket no matter what. He heads the vast Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development often branded the 'people’s ministry'. His predecessors failed their briefs because of the altercations they had with local tribes in handling chieftainship disputes that are raging across the country. In the past, issues of chieftainship successions became a hot potato with a lot of cases only getting resolved in the courts of law.
The former teacher and Boteti West MP seems to have taken his assignment seriously so much that he has become a true servant of the people. He is also presented as a loyalist who continues to catch the eye of his principals.
At the July elective congress held in Tonota, Tsogwane was elected an additional member of the party’s Central Committee and this has raised his chances of working closely with Masisi as the VP.