Masisi Speaks Out

Masisi speaking at the BDP retreat PIC. KEOAGILE BONANG
Masisi speaking at the BDP retreat PIC. KEOAGILE BONANG

PALAPYE: President Mokgweetsi Masisi broke the silence and responded emphatically to allegations that have shrouded his leadership since he rose to the ultimate seat.

He was speaking at the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) national retreat held at the Palapye International Convention Centre (PICC) at the Majestic Five Hotel on Saturday. 

He addressed issues from his relationship with his predecessor Ian Khama, the alleged vice presidency promises, life threats, sweeping changes that came with his leadership to the motion of no confidence that was propped against him.

He made his address with pomp, in an hour-long speech that he pulled from his cuff.

He also touched base on other issues like corruption arrests that have caused a stir recently.

Of interest was his alleged squabbles with his former minister turned rival, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, which is a hot potato.

Masisi dropped Venson-Moitoi from his cabinet immediately after the latter announced her interest to contest the BDP presidency against him recently.

Venson-Moitoi was present at the party retreat and was seated well at the front of the PICC with other esteemed members of the party during the President’s address.

Masisi said unusual as Venson-Moitoi’s challenge may be (in the BDP) he embraces it and he is ready to compete with her. He said he has never backed out of a challenge. “You think I have a problem with it? I do not, and in fact, I embrace it. We will compete with Mma Moitoi, and there will be a winner, that winner will be the BDP president,” he said.

He noted the challenge was significant in an “established mature democracy that is also an exemplary democracy for many nations”.

He set the record straight in the issue of the promised vice presidency. 

The timing could have not been right after Venson-Moitoi bemoaned of her disappointment in the President in an interview with Mmegi last week.

Venson-Moitoi said Masisi promised her the vice presidency before he took over from Khama and did not live up to the promise after rising to the helm.  Masisi poured scorn on the alleged promises in the face of Venson-Moitoi.

“I want to make it emphatically clear that I have never promised anybody the vice presidency, or the ministerial position and I challenge whoever said that to come and say it out,” he challenged the floor and Venson-Moitoi did not move.

He revealed that indeed he spoke to some people individually including Venson-Moitoi, “Yes, I asked them what they would want to do (after his takeover) and they showed interest in the vice presidency and I said we would see. That’s all”. Additionally, he admitted there were other discussions on the vice presidency that he held with his predecessor before he was handed the baton that he was expected to pass after he took the reigns, but could not.

“My leaders spoke to me about some other issues and I had to agree, o tla reng mogolo a go bolelela,” he said with a cheeky laugh.

He called for the spirit of love amongst BDP members. He said a lot of negativity has been said on his relationship with his predecessor.

He said their differences were borne by the changes he made in his attempt to return the country to a consultative government that the nation was yearning for.

“When I was sworn in, I said I will and I can. I took responsibility, I made changes I felt necessary and I want Batswana to be able to challenge me on things that I have done. I am not here to play. I want to run an inclusive party and an inclusive government.”

He said he does not hate anybody in the party, “hating an individual could only damage one’s credibility. I opened to all members of my executive and gave them proof”.

Masisi said he also remained quiet about the issue of the motion of no confidence that was fashioned against him. He said as much as he might not wish a motion of no confidence on anyone he was ready to face it.

He, however, warned his cadres that he would crack the whip on anyone that goes against the interests of the party.

On issues of corruption, Masisi said criminals should answer.

He warned his party members to stay clean of corruption least they find themselves on the wrongside of the law.

He called them to declare their assets so they can be accountable. He said the recent public arrests were not targeting anybody.

“We are not trying to go after anybody. It is imperative we demonstrate good faith to our electorates. We should prove to them that we are not corrupt, and we would not entertain corruption. We had to deal with corruption and had to start somewhere.”

He further spoke of fear and uncertainty about his security. He said he learnt some quarters within the country and abroad were worried about his security. He said, however, he had no fears.

“I don’t waste my time any day stopping to think I am going to die, because ultimately I am going to die and everyone else is going to die,” he said noting he would continue to lead without any reservations.

In the end, he accented he had made the right choice of the vice president that is disciplined and ready to take on the challenge. “If you make a mistake or tremble at chosing the right person (VP) you lose big and get relegated to opposing what others say.”

He encouraged his party members to stay on course to remain in power. He urged them to bring order to the people who have motives for breaking the party up.

He said he would avail all impetuous in this final nine months ahead of the elections that would support his candidates to ensure a landslide victory at the general elections.

The retreat was graced by party elders that included amongst others Obed Chilume from the first Parliament of 1965, Raymond Molomo, Daniel Kwelagobe, Thebe Mogami, Moeng Pheto, Leach Tlhomelang, Patrick Balopi, Peter Siele and David Magang.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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