FRANCISTOWN: Mpho Masisi, the son of the late former Francistown West Member of Parliament (MP) Tshelang Masisi had reminisced how his late father lectured his uncle, encouraging him not to lose hope of winning elections.
“Seose polotiki le fa o ka kanama jang o jelwe, o a ema o itlhotlhore botshelo bo tswelele pele. (This thing called politics, you slip and fall, dust off and continue with life as if nothing has happened),” Mpho remembers his father telling Mokgweetsi.
This was after Mokgweetsi had lost the party primaries to Maitlhoko Mooka prior to the 2004 general elections. The advice worked. Mokgweetsi dusted himself up and rebounded strongly to win the 2009 elections. His star rose further when he joined the front bench first as an assistant minister.
Within a short-time, he became one of the favourites and loyalists of President Ian Khama and got rewarded with a full cabinet post. The political career of the then education minister scaled new heights when he was appointed Vice President (VP) and Khama’s heir apparent.
The new VP cut his political teeth at the feet of his father, the late Edison Masisi who was MP for Moshupa. The old man was a role model for his sons who would later venture into politics, specifically Tshelang and Mokgweetsi.
He inspired them to recognise their potential in politics and the duo never disappointed, as they strongly believed in themselves. By Mpho’s reckoning, Mokgweetsi was supposed to join politics later than he did.
“Given my paternal uncle Mokgweetsi’s credentials, I have always thought he would enter active politics at a very late stage in his life because he previously had good jobs as a secondary school teacher and as an officer at the curriculum department,” he had said in an earlier interview.
Mokgweetsi left government to join UNICEF before he went into the private sector as a consultant. Mpho vividly remembers his uncle’s active days in the BDP National Youth Executive Committee (NYEC). He said this added value to his political career.
Since he became an MP and Cabinet minister, Masisi was a high performer and got rewarded by Khama.
“He once said that even if it meant an appointment in the Foreign Service, he would represent his country diligently and will always be remembered as someone ready to serve,” said Mpho.
He is not surprised that his uncle has within a short time shot to the top because that is what he has worked very hard to achieve. He calls it a real dream come true. After winning the 2009 general elections, Khama appointed Masisi an Assistant Minister at the
When Khama redeployed Motsumi to serve in the Foreign Service in India for alleged unsatisfactory performance, Masisi took over as the substantive minister. He continued to cement his relationship with Khama and became one of the most visible ministers. Khama’s pet project of poverty eradication catapulted him to greater heights in his career.
Masisi performed his tasks with passion, commitment and energy as he traversed the length and breadth of the country. At the height of accusations that the ruling BDP and its national chairperson Masisi were ‘captured’ by the businessmen of Indian extraction who had surrounded VP, motor magnate and BDP national treasurer Satar Dada came to his rescue.
“Masisi’s hands are very clean. He is such a good man who is not immersed in any form of corrupt practice,” Dada said on the sidelines of the party’s elective congress in Tonota last July.
Kgalalelo Phontha who sells candies, airtime and other wares just at the main entrance of the Mmanaana Junior Secondary School where Masisi once taught History and English, describes the incoming President as a good man.
“As you know we live this life once, we should make hay when the sun shines. We should all be happy as we expect the new President coming from our village to speed up developments so that we have a hospital to match our population growth,” says Phontha clad on a BDP t-shirt. She acknowledges she is a BDP activist.
She sells airtime and other wares because Botswana does not have sufficient jobs. The 42-year-old mother of three children expects Masisi to bring fortune to their village and create jobs for the unemployed. She did not explain how such jobs would be created. She simply hopes the Masisi ‘magic’ will bring good tidings to them.
Mothusi Keatlhotswe is unemployed and at 36 years, he is excited that his former MP, Masisi’s rise cannot just happen without any good returns to the village of Moshupa. This interview is done just on the roadside. Keatlhotswe is on his donkey cart to deliver another load of river sand, which is one of the resources that he subsists on.
“I hope Masisi will come to our assistance by creating jobs in the rural areas like Leropeng settlement,” said Keatlhotswe hitting his five-in-spanned donkeys to move on.