Mid-last year President Mokgweetsi Masisi responded angrily to a question by one villager in Serowe about the alleged rift between him and his predecessor, Ian Khama.
Then, he labelled the question ‘dikgang tsa dipepere’. Masisi on Saturday came out with guns blazing against Khama and presidential aspirant, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi. Masisi, who was allocated 40 minutes to officially open the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) South West Regional Congress spoke for more than 90 minutes mostly attacking the two. Masisi told the gathering that ever since he was Vice President, and when he was endorsed to be President nobody in his party was against the move.
“I was lawfully inaugurated as the President of Botswana and also of the BDP. I never doubted this, but there was someone who said they did not agree I was party president. I know it was not their view, they were sent by someone. We discussed it and closed it as the Central Committee, surprisingly it rose again and some supported it,” he said.
“This is done by the same people, and they are also the same people who are supporting Venson-Moitoi against me. She is a democrat whom I love and respect. She now finds herself in a difficult place as someone who takes orders. She has been sent by someone to stand against me. She is not the real contender for presidency.
There is someone else they want to stand against me. She should move aside and let me face the real contender,” he said. Masisi said he was confident that even Venson-Moitoi would vote for him to continue leading both the BDP and the country. Masisi said he saved Venson-Moitoi’s job as a minister six months before the 2014 General Elections.
“I asked to be Acting Minister for Education and Skills Development six months before elections as Khama was furious with her and wanted to fire her. I pleaded with him to not remove her as minister and she kept her office when I was acting while she was given a different job to do in the same ministry. We went to elections and we both won and she continued to be a minister,” he said.
The seething President further told the gathering that African presidents told him they did not vote Venson-Moitoi because Khama did not respect and never attended the African Union summit. “I was busy with former President Festus Mogae and others campaigning for her all over Africa when Khama just wrote letters and never visited any country. African leaders told me they would not vote for us, but I continued supporting her to the end.
I am not saying she should not stand for elections, but why is he supporting her now when he failed to do so in the AU Commission campaign,” he said.He said Moitoi’s handlers do not necessarily want her to be president but that they just want to remove him and appoint their preferred candidate. He said he suspects they want to appoint the one who they wanted for vice president.
The former Moshupa- Manyana legislator alleged that Venson-Moitoi failed in an assignment he gave her to engage communities on the hunting ban. He said Venson-Moitoi had some forces against her, which led her to abandon the assignment. Masisi said he has been silent for long and will now stamp his authority as the first citizen.
“I do not want to be belittled. I am the President of Botswana and no one is above me. People should stop coming late and disturbing proceedings. This must stop. It is either you come on time or just stay away. There can only be one President at a time,” he said. Masisi said he regrets leading the pack when they amended the law to allow former presidents to work. He said the use of the word ‘work’ is broad meaning that there would be no disturbance to the current presidency as is currently happening.