After the most epic election campaign, Moshupa’s son Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi has been inaugurated as the fifth President of the Republic of Botswana.
Friday was a blissful day for Masisi, his family, fellow ruling party members and Batswana at large as he was sworn in.
Masisi’s way to the presidency of Botswana has been one riddled with many obstacles, probably the toughest ever.
In their good days, former president Ian Khama fought hard to convince the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) members and followers that Masisi was the right man to replace him.
Then, Khama supported Masisi for the fiercely contested chairmanship of the party against Nonofo Molefhi.
Masisi would then seem to be on a smooth path to presidency as Khama went around declaring him as the next president and eventually passing the baton to him in April 2018.
Soon after getting into office, Masisi terminated the newly extended contract of spy chief, Isaac Kgosi.
This was the beginning that set off many events pointing to the cracks in their relationship. It did not take long to notice that successor, Masisi and his predecessor, Khama were not in good terms.
Masisi tried to keep the matter on the low until Khama openly stated that he and Masisi had fallen out. It was after Khama supported Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi for BDP presidency that Masisi started hitting back.
Masisi believed that Khama had sent Venson-Moitoi to challenge him while she maintained it was her personal choice.
Venson-Moitoi, Khama, Samson Moyo Guma, Roseline Panzirah and others toured the country campaigning while Masisi and his team also criss-crossed the country to get democrats on their side.
Venson- Moitoi dropped out of the race at the 11th hour citing lack of fairness.
Just when Masisi thought he was back on track to be party president, disgruntled party members quit to form the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) with Khama as its patron.
Masisi and his party had to work extra hard in their campaign as Khama was also busy campaigning for BPF and the Umbrella for Democratic Change with the main message being to remove Masisi.
Masisi fought with all he could through the presidential campaign, improving salaries for civil servants, and many other means to get votes for his candidates. He was even accused of using State organs to oppress political opponents.
“Tla ke simolole ka go le bolelela gore mo Tomkraga re tlhwaahetse. Ke lemotshe ba ba belaelang gore thupa ee tlhwaafetseng e etla. Botautona jo ke a bo batla jo. Ke bo batla tota bosigo le motshegare. Ga ke iphitlhe, ebile gabo ntlhabise ditlhong. Ke bo batla go gaisa jaaka nkile ka bo batla ka gore ke rumotswe. Ke rumotswe, batho ba tlhoka se ba se buang ba bua ka nna e kete ke nna lefatshe. Botautona jo ke a bo batla, ke batla go kgalemela lenyatso,” Masisi said at a launch rally in Moshupa.
October 23rd came and Batswana showed him massive support granting him 38 parliamentary seats. Even though BPF dented BDP’s popularity in the Central District, Masisi made big gains in the South; winning all Gaborone, Molepolole as well as Kanye constituencies amongst others.
Even though opposition parties are adamant that the elections were rigged, observers were of the view that everything went well.
November 1st came and Masisi was inaugurated and sworn in before multitudes who came to bear witness. As expected, Khama did not show up despite having been invited.
In his inauguration speech, Masisi reiterated his determination to devote his time and energy to improving the lives of citizens who are yearning for the social and economic transformation of the country.
“One of our key priorities is to ensure the creation of meaningful and sustainable jobs by promoting public/private partnerships with local and foreign investors in some of the key sectors of agriculture, mining, tourism, manufacturing, electronics, pharmaceuticals as well as research and development amongst others,” Masisi said.
“Through these sectors as well as the arts, the creative industry and sports, there is enormous potential for the creation of thousands of jobs for Batswana.”