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Masisi's 'uninspiring' 100 days in office

CHAKALISA DUBE
Masisi PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES
After 100 days in office following the 2019 general election, it appears President Mokgweetsi Masisi has not succeeded in winning the confidence of the country’s opposition and some political analysts in terms of his ability to take the country forward. Mmegi Staff Writer CHAKALISA DUBE reports

FRANCISTOWN: It is widely known that the first 100 days of a presidency is too short a time span to measure a sitting President’s success.

However, the first 100 days of a sitting President are used to assess whether the new administration has the enthusiasm to move the country to the next level in various areas.

In a nutshell, political experts believe that if the first 100 days of a sitting President’s term in office are positive to some extent, it means that his subsequent months in office will probably be a success. 

When he took power, Masisi made a promise that he would turn around the fortunes of the country by creating the much-needed employment and also reshaping the lives of Batswana. Amongst his key promises was that Botswana would urgently review the country’s Constitution with a view of making it more liberal.

He also promised that should the BDP be voted into power, it would fight corruption and ensure clean governance.

Political analyst and University of Botswana, senior lecturer in politics Kebapetse Lotshwao believes that in his first 100 days, Masisi and his administration have done little to show that they want to implement the manifesto that won them power.

“Based on his first 100 days, it does not look like much is being done to create jobs and to address rural poverty, and inequality that characterises Botswana. These are areas where more attention is required,” he said.

According to Lotshwao on account of his first 100 days in office, there is no strong signal that the war against corruption has begun.

He explained that in Masisi’s first 100 days, he is yet to see any notable progress in corruption cases where the ‘so-called big fish’ are involved.  Lotshwao said that progress and possibly conviction of prominent people accused of corruption could have served, “as a major indicator that there is the will to fight corruption by the Masisi administration”.

Despite his sharp criticism, Lotshwao was quick to point out that in Masisi’s first 100 days, there are some good things that the President has done, such as mending the country’s relations with the international community.

“Furthermore, as he promised, the President continues to engage with key actors, such as the media and the unions,” he said.  Yesterday Alliance for Progressives (AP) leader, Wynter Mmolotsi said Masisi should have used his first 100 days in office to share his vision most particularly how he will tackle key issues such as unemployment and advancing constitutional reforms as he promised Batswana.

Mmolotsi noted that leading to the elections, Masisi promised Batswana that government would create meaningful employment for them. 

His expectations are that in the first 100 days of his presidency, Masisi should have articulated steps as to how the government intends to create jobs.

 

“Now, he is selling a philosophy that the private sector alone should create jobs and government’s role is to provide a conducive environment in which the private sector can thrive in. Reneging on his job promise is a clear indication that he deceived Batswana during his campaigns in a bid to attract votes,” Mmolotsi said.

He added that amongst his most notable election promises to Batswana was the manufacturing of an electric car. He said based on Masisi’s posture it is clear that the BDP-led government does not have special plans to manufacture the electric car as promised. What deeply worries Mmolotsi is that it appears Masisi’s ill-treatment towards former president Ian Khama will continue under his regime.

“I think Masisi’s government is being petty. He must lead the country in terms of implementing various policies. Constantly fighting

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Khama is not doing good to the reputation of the country and delays progress,” he said.

UDC vice president and Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Dumelang Saleshando says, “long after the swearing-in speech delivered in November 2019, we all still await the fundamental changes in policy in our institutions”.

He highlighted the much-talked about electric car that was to create over 100,000 jobs, which remains an elusive pie in the sky and has not made it to any speech by the President since November 2019. 

Saleshando credits President Masisi, after his first 100 days in office after he was first sworn in following the compulsory retirement of his predecessor as he addressed a press conference. 

This time around, he says he has decided, “to remain silent on his first 100 days in office following the 2019 general elections”.

The press conference of 2018 after the first 100 days in office was a walk in the park for President Masisi.  After more than 10 years, journalists could sit in the same room with the President and ask him questions.  This was a milestone worth celebrating by the press and they reciprocated with friendly questions that assisted to settle the President’s nerves.  Within his first 30 days in office, President Masisi had fired the much-feared boss of the intelligence services, Isaac Kgosi.  To many people, Kgosi was the embodiment of all the ‘corruption and malpractices’ associated with the previous regime.  No big announcements were made during the press conference but there was a subtle consensus that “Re baakanya lehatshe” tagline was believable.

Just like the State of the Nation Address, Saleshando says the recently delivered Budget Speech makes no bold pronouncements on job creation.

“Besides public arrests and handcuffing of former senior civil servants, there has been no single successful prosecution and conviction of those that have corruptly enriched themselves.  This explains why it makes sense for the President to exercise his right to remain silent when he heard the clock tick on day 100 in office.” 

He is emphatic that the sooner the President focuses on key national issues such as unemployment and corruption, the better. 

He expects the BDP CAVA brigade to respond dismissively by asking the question, “What can a President change in 100 days?”

His advice to them is to make time to read the 100 days in office speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States of America. 

He assumed the presidency under pressure to reverse the economic crisis occasioned by the Great Depression. In the first 100 days after assuming office, he passed 13 major laws to get the Americans back to work and get the economy working for the ordinary American. 

“Yes, it’s possible to introduce laws that can change your life in 100 days.  Only two laws have been passed by the Masisi government since the last general elections,” observes the Leader of Opposition.“The first law was drawing down more money to add to the deficit after it was realised that the President had announced Ntlole (pubic service salary adjustment) for the armed forces when there was no budget for it.”

  The second law was the one suspending the operation of the Asset and Liabilities Disclosure Law.  From his grave, Saleshando can hear Roosevelt whispering, “What a wasted 100 Days!”

The ruling party did not respond directly to the opposition’s assessment of Masisi’s first 100 days in office. The party spokesperson, Kagelelo Kentse said the Masisi regime would provide a comprehensive and collective view of his first 100 days in office through a media conference billed for March.



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