In an explosive interview that happened in December 2018 with Enole Ditsheko, President Mokgweetsi Masisi broke the silence and spoke bitterly against his predecessor.
The interview appears on Ditsheko’s controversial book titled Wrestling Botswana Back from Khama, which will be released on September 5.
Masisi revealed in the interview how he angrily stood up against the then president, Ian Khama and his brother Tshekedi Khama together with attorney Parks Tafa on a hatched plan to have him appoint Tshekedi as party chairperson.
“I told him [Ian Khama] that I put up with nonsense by Tshekedi Khama defaming me all over as someone who was not fit to be vice president. He just lowered his head and could not face me that day out of embarrassment. He had never seen me that angry. I told him that the only reason I had never responded to his younger brother was out of my respect for him as my boss and the job I was doing, the party and the love for this country,” said Masisi.
Masisi said he boldly told Khama to “put a leash on” Tshekedi who was grossly disrespecting him.
“I told him point-blank: I know you all too well, I grew up just a stone-throw away from you. I told my boss that, if I replied to your brother, it would hurt you even worse,” said Masisi.
“Do you know what they used to say? He likened me to a spook, which in a way I know them and their craftiness: they had it all planned out to have me come in to warm a seat, get kicked out, and I think the mistake that I made for them, which is what led to all these conspiracies, is that I am a political animal.”
Masisi described how he duped the Khamas and ruined their sinister plan to have a grip on the presidency and extend their stay at the State House.
“I got out there and became significant, but I remained always loyal and subservient to him. Whether or not I understood the psychological framework of Ian Khama - my emotional intelligence is good enough to read that. I studied psychology deeply. I know the man.”
Masisi also spoke for the first time about the hatched plan to have Tshekedi appointed Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) chairperson. He said Khama sent Tafa at night to tell him to ask BDP CC appoint Tshekedi.
“He [Parks Tafa] came here on a special mission with strict instructions to me by my boss late night on Sunday preceding the central committee meeting. I was surprised at the unannounced late visit. He said to me, with a serious and nervous look while I put him at ease with, ‘Relax, Parks’.
“I went in to bring him a drink before he delivered the shocker. ‘The President would like for you [to be] at tomorrow’s meeting since you are the vice president; he thinks you may need to concentrate on the demanding role and getting ready to become the President in no time so you can give up your party chairperson (position). Parks went on: Ask the central committee to endorse Tshekedi as the party Chairman.”
Masisi says he hid his shock and played along to get the most out of the meeting. After exciting Tafa by telling him that his suggestion is “darn good idea”, Masisi said the next morning he texted the man to tell Khama that their suggestion “won’t work”.
Masisi also describes his vice presidency’s tenure as “brutal hell”.
“I went through brutal hell: you’ll get it in my memoirs, not yours, the real truth of it. I was the most abused vice president. I had juniors who made it their habit to report me to my senior, appearing twice or thrice a week over petty lies. And my boss [was] unwilling to reign in on them until I gave him an ultimatum that if I was not trustworthy, I would opt to leave.”
Masisi also spoke about Khama’s “silliest request” of an aircraft, which he said it (the request) arrived when he was on Christmas Eve at 5pm.
“The silliest request I have right now is his letter through his lawyers. He is asking for aircraft from the 24th of December through to the 14th January and the aircraft crew must be at his disposal all the time.”
Responding to criticism from Khama Masisi said: “It is because I refused to appoint his younger brother to be my vice president; he had audiolised that to me. He expected me to hang around for a short while and then leave the presidency, but only not to allow myself to be president after the elections; the brother must be president. That is what it was all about. If today I fired Slumber Tsogwane, appointed Tshekedi the vice president and indicated to the family that I will be leaving in a month or two, he would come and kiss me.”