Following firing shots from President Mokgweetsi Masisi, ex-head of state Ian Khama has come out to defend himself and denied claims made by his successor.
Khama denied ever wanting to fire presidential aspirant Pelonomi- Venson Moitoi from Cabinet. Elsewhere in the paper, Masisi is quoted saying that she went to Khama to plead with him not to fire Venson- Moitoi as Minister for Education and Skills Development.
On yet another story, Venson- Moitoi claims it was her who saved Masisi’s vice presidency when Cabinet ministers wanted him ousted.
“It is not true that Masisi ever came to me to plead with me not to fire Venson- Moitoi. It is impossible, as I never had any intentions to fire her. There may have been a time when I spoke of change of Cabinet ministers.
In fact it was her in 2017 when there was almost half of the Cabinet who came to me saying he was sponsoring candidates in constituencies of people he did not want to stand and they came to me and asked me to remove him as vice president.”
“It was Mma Moitoi who came to my office one time and said she knows I am under pressure because of this and pleaded that I forgive him and let him work. It wasn’t him who saved her, it was her who saved him. But I am not saying I had taken the decision to fire him. She was just saying in case I was considering it,” he said.
Khama said he never sent Venson- Moitoi to contest against Masisi. He said the Serowe South legislator came to him informing him of her intentions and assured her of his support after hearing her reasons.
He said it was her democratic right to contest as a democrat. He also denied partaking in any of the cases where Masisi’s party presidency was challenged. On accusations that he failed to support Venson- Moitoi for African Union (AU) Commission post, Khama said he did not disrespect the AU. He said he had made it clear that due to many summits he was to attend, he assigned Masisi to AU and also to lead Moitoi’s campaign. He said he was fully supportive and met some leaders and also got SADC to endorse her.
“I find it extremely shocking and not like us as Batswana that some one in his position, as the President of this country to go and misrepresent the truth to that extent,” he said.
On Masisi regretting the law allowing former presidents to work, Khama said Masisi misunderstood the law.
He said even if the law had not changed, he would still be able to engage in the charitable work, championing Vision 2036, football tournaments and all other things he is currently doing because he is not making money out of it.
He said it was a pity that the President could not remember nor understand the law.On Masisi’s concern about individuals arriving late at events and disturbing proceedings as people cheer up, Khama said he was surprised that Masisi could talk about late coming when he is always late at meetings he called. “In Palapye I came late, so did he, at a meeting he called. I had written to the Secretary General that I would arrive late and leave early as I had other engagements. The President acknowledged receipt of the letter. They should have said I should not come if I come late,” he said.
“I know for a fact and many of you know that he comes to meetings and functions late. So if he says, and I’m glad he says it is disrespectful, he should not just come late because he is the President. During my presidency, I always made sure that I came on time.”
Khama said Masisi is not being sincere about reconciliation, as he has not made any move since inviting him for lunch in Palapye. He said he was expecting Masisi would invite him and the elders to a meeting where they could seat and iron out their issues. He said he was ready to reconcile and is disappointed that the President would go out to say the things he said at a BDP congress and misleading the democrats.
While Masisi said he is building the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) to be trusted by Batswana, Khama said people are scared of the current DIS. He pointed out to the arrest of the spy chief, Isaac Kgosi, as proof that the current DIS is not doing things properly.