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'Khama should leave Masisi alone' – Analysts

Former president Ian Khama has definitely put on his full armour, as he seemingly takes on his targeted ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) operatives. After suffering embarrassment and humiliation at the hands of President Mokgweetsi Masisi, a politician he had groomed and fought for at all costs, Khama seems set on a path for vengeance. Mmegi Staff Writer, RYDER GABATHUSE, however shares the position of political scientists that Khama should give Masisi a chance to rule this country undeterred and without fear nor favour

FRANCISTOWN: This is the very Khama who was retired from the army in 1998 to become the former president Festus Mogae’s vice president.

This was after the late political consultant, Professor Lawrence Schlemmer had recommended Khama as the man who was not immersed in BDP dirty politics.

This was a time when Mogae’s presidency was in danger and needed someone who could protect it.

Signs of a party that was skating on thin ice had manifested itself early in the last days of former president, the late Sir Ketumile Masire, as the BDP continued to lose grip on the opposition.

Khama at the time, was touted as more popular than the BDP itself and he indeed played his role well. But Khama’s presidency would later be characterised by instability, which saw a faction of the party morphing into a fully-fledged political party called Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD).

BMD has already suffered a major break-up that saw the formation of another party known as Alliance for Progressives (AP).

From the way they started their political journey together, which culminated in the appointment of Masisi as vice president, this could have sent a wrong signal to Khama that his man will entertain his (Khama’s) desires post his presidency.

Khama has always shown a penchant to fly state-owned aircraft to satisfy his airborne appetite.

But, Masisi is content with keeping order whilst in office by not allowing his former boss to do as he pleased. He does not want to set a bad precedent as an accounting officer. In May this year, in a deliberate move, a savingram from the army’s air arm high command was deliberately leaked prohibiting former president Khama from flying the army aircraft.

The savingram indicated that Khama was no more allowed to fly any BDF aircraft as crew and it quoted the air arm standing order No.2 of 2018 as the authority.

Within 100 days in office, Masisi had reversed a good number of decisions made by Khama whilst a helmsman as State president. He would later unceremoniously fire Khama’s blue-eyed boy, Isaac Kgosi, the pioneering director general of the feared Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) and replaced him with retired Brigadier, Peter Magosi who was at some stage fired by Khama from the army.

Kgosi was fired after he had made utterances that he was not accountable to anyone, not even the President, when he appeared before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

During his tenure Khama never hid his hatred for liquor as his government had hit the industry with reduced trading hours and the crippling liquor levy.

The Masisi administration has come up with a counter measure to reverse the Khama decision within a short space of time, which is another indication of reversing laws attributed to Khama.

This week, Khama launched Minister Shaw Kgathi’s challenger Francisco Kgoboko’s Trust in the heart of Bobirwa constituency, Bobonong, which left Kgathi with a bitter taste in his mouth that Khama was unnecessarily giving his opponent political mileage.

Khama has since dismissed Kgathi’s concerns as nothing because he had the liberty to attend any event of his choice.

In 2010, post the BDP tumultuous elective congress in Kanye, which was won predominantly by the so-called Barata Phathi faction, when former presidents Mogae and Masire sought to intervene in a matter in which Khama as the BDP leader had suspended and finally fired elected party office bearers, Khama refused to give his predecessors an opportunity to talk to him.

Some of the fired office bearers included Botsalo Ntuane, the late Gomolemo Motswaledi, Wynter Mmolotsi and Samson Guma amongst others.

After pioneering at the BMD, Ntuane and Guma, amongst others, retraced their steps to the ruling BDP.

Now, a youthful BDP activist that preferred anonymity for fear of

reprisals, this week described Khama as a crybaby when he is given a dose of his own medicine by being snubbed by a sitting President. “If you remember very well, Mogae ended up calling Khama a dictator for failing to listen to other people and taking decisions that in Mogae’s view were not in the best interest of the country,” the concerned BDP youth said.

In a nutshell, our source had said that Khama should leave the space to Masisi to rule without him worrying about the former president’s machinations.

It’s also interesting to see what will turn out in a matter that Khama has threatened legal action seeking Kgosi to be employed as his private secretary after the Masisi regime had apparently refused his employment.

University of Botswana political science lecturer, Leonard Sesa does not see anything wrong with Masisi’s decisions, as he is no longer under Khama as he used to be the vice president.

“Like any other person, we now see his true reflection.  All eyes are on him as he does what he believes in unhindered.”

Sesa emphasised: “Khama has previously refused to simply hear Mogae and Masire when they wanted to intervene as party elders. He simply told the duo to let him rule as their time was over. It’s his chance to leave Masisi alone”.

The UB political scientist feels that by appointing Masisi his deputy then, Khama thought he would get favours he wanted from him upon his retirement from office.

“Khama should remain a party elder and stay away from active politics. I think he has retired and should go home and enjoy his retirement. People will soon lose interest and respect in him,” analyses Sesa.

There is a school of thought that since Khama is the kgosi of the vast Central District Council (CDC), which is the stronghold of the BDP, he wields a lot of influence even within the ruling party.

If Masisi and other Khama nemesis could handle him without respect, he may turn the CDC against the BDP if need be.

Sesa does not think that can easily happen because as it stands, Khama is still a politician who could simply be given assignments without him coming up with his own, especially when it relates to the BDP activities.

If he wants to become active in politics after his retirement, Sesa says Khama should make it clear and return accordingly. The UB academic fears that Khama is now causing unnecessary confusion.

UB senior politics lecturer, Dr Kebapetse Lotshwao said this week that people may not be aware of many things happening behind the scenes,

“But from what we know, I don’t think there is anything wrong that Masisi has done or is doing relating to Khama”.

Lotshwao did not find it proper for anyone to appoint a person fired by the President. To him, that is tantamount to undermining the authority of the sitting President.

“When the law was amended sometime this year, it was provided that the retired president will be provided with transport. As for other modes of transport other than road, it is the President who will provide from time-to-time.”

Lotshwao views Khama as a character that thinks, “he is above the law and rules will always be bended in his favour. That is why when he is barred from flying BDF aircraft, he feels hard done”.

The other thing that Lotshwao observed relates to the fact that Khama used to say that he is not a politician, therefore, he should go and pursue his interest outside politics.

“Masisi has no problem this time around. It is Khama who is wrong. He mixes bogosi and politics. But, like everyone else has done, he should choose between the two,” Lotshwao said.




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