Letter to Seretse: Masisi one year

Khama's statue in front of Parliament PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES
Khama's statue in front of Parliament PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES

"Gona le mathata!" These are the distressing words said by your boy at Lady Khama Centre in February talking about his successor at the Office of the President. Oh, I am sorry mong wame, I had even forgotten to greet you Sir. Dumela Phuti.

As you could tell things are not very well in your beloved Republic. Ian’s successor, Edison Masisi’s boy by the name Mokgweetsi, is this weekend turning one year in the office. And sir, it has been a rough road for the poor boy. If you recall from my Edison’s son 100 Days letter, you would have noticed my relief and happiness.

Many people (myeself included) were relieved that Ian has respected the Constitution and agreed to step down. This was because all these years, there were widespread concerns that he might just refuse to go or find a way to rule from the grave.

From my last letter, I said the nation was particularly happy that Edison’s son has brought back consultation in his administration. Therisanyo is a fundamental pillar that you and bo Rre Masire used to build this country. Mokgweetsi has brought back those nostalgic days where issues are confronted by open consultations, merero, and solutions gathered from the people not just from the select few friends and sycophants. We did not have inclusive consultations during Ian’s rule but we just endured through his 10-year authoritative leadership.

Many people, especially his morafe, were expecting Ian to be spending more time at Maaloso, sitting on Setilo-sa-dikgole wearing that signature helmet hat that is adored by his pompous uncles and holding his favourite duiker engraved stick. We were all hoping that after so many years of serving the nation, Ian was ready to return to his Kgotla where you draped him with the lion’s skin and advised him to be an exemplary leader. During his presidential farewell Kgotla meeting last year in Serowe, Bangwato were saying it is actually a welcome reception for their Kgosi as he returns from national duty to lead morafe.

But Sir, I am sorry to tell you that Ian has since changed his mind about his chosen successor and is now running around trying to kick out the poor Edison’s boy from power.

The whole thing is just messy and difficult to understand. We do not know what has gotten into your boy. He is no longer the happy outgoing president who promised us that “Go tsile go nna monate” under Mokgweetsi’s rule. 

Just as we were starting to really enjoy our newfound freedoms in these fun days of Mokgweetsi’s government, Ian is now hell-bent on spoiling it for us by removing him from power saying he is the biggest mistake and regrets putting him up there.

The challenge is both Ian and Mokgweetsi are fighting for something that they could not clearly say. Edison’s son, who disclosed during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) that the transition between him and Ian was “not smooth”, is also not coming up with details of their feud. Word at government enclave is that the major bone of contention is over the use of State aircraft. Ever since Ian was told not to fly State aircraft, he has never been the same. Your boy’s obsession for flying is out of control. I wonder why he did not just sell all the cattle he got as presents and put in a deposit for his own personal plane.

Ian has since teamed up with his Serowe homegirl called Pelonomi and he is using the poor lady to wrestle the number one seat from Mokgweetsi. She is contesting for the presidential seat with Mokgweetsi in the BDP. Sir I really feel sorry for Pelonomi because she could have stood a chance to fight for the presidency on her own, but now it appears like she is just another trial proxy of Ian.

Last month Ian went to meet Bangwato elders in Serowe to update them on why he no longer wants Mokgweetsi as President. It was a disastrous meeting as Ian went on some disjointed politicking without explaining to his morafe exactly why he no longer has confidence on Edison’s son. As you know Bangwato adore Ian so much that they would blindly follow him anywhere, so they just ululated to his broken Setswana.

They did not question their kgosikgolo on what really is the bone of contention between him and Edison’s son. They did not even question him why he cannot go and talk to Mokgweetsi to advise him to be a better ruler if Ian felt he was straying away from sound leadership.

Early this month, he defiantly travelled to India against governmeånt’s advicåe to meet with åTibet’s Dalai Lama. He stopped in South Africa and told the media there that there is trouble in Botswana. He told them that he would not rest until Edison’s son is removed from power.

I do not know why Edison’s son is not just approaching Ian and find out why he no longer wants him. Mokgweetsi has been dealing with Ian via his secretaries. It appears as if Ian is not getting used to be a common citizen. With all due respect, I think power has completely destroyed your boy. We initially thought it was just a bad power hangover but it looks like it is much worse than that. Many Batswana, from the army, government and morafe, have made Ian to believe that he is a Messiah and, without blaming him, I think it went to his head.

Now at 66 and still a bachelor, I do not think your boy would ever get a normal life again. He is struggling with retirement. Maybe Edison’s son should have provided him with some counseling for him to cope with being powerless and alone. Black men often overlook these things, but I feel like he is crying out loud and the nation is not paying attention to him.

Akalo Phuti!



That beautiful young girlfriend with an identical twin sister I told you about in March last year is no longer seen with Ian. I tried to ask Ian about her and he just laughed it off.

Editor's Comment
Botswana needs proper rehabilitation centres

Our sister publication The Monitor earlier this week carried a story on serious human rights abuses being meted on people who have gone for rehabilitation at a boot camp in Kgatleng. Allegations cite verbal and physical abuses, children being stripped of their dignity and shaved in front of others. While the abuse came to light after a suicide incident of a 23-year-old, Botswana Institute for Reintegration and Rehabilitation of Offenders’...

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