Home » Columns » Boko is wrong, most Batswana have confidence in Masisi!

Boko is wrong, most Batswana have confidence in Masisi!

Publishing Date : 19 July, 2018

Ndulamo Anthony Morima
EAGLE WATCH



Section 92 of the Constitution of Botswana provides that “If the National Assembly at any time passes a resolution supported by a majority of all the Members of the Assembly who are entitled to vote declaring that it has no confidence in the Government of Botswana, Parliament shall stand dissolved on the fourth day following the day on which such resolution was passed, unless the President earlier resigns his office or dissolves Parliament.”


Though section 92 provides for a vote of no confidence in the Government of Botswana as a whole, it is effectively a vote of no confidence in the President for he, in order to save his Government through dissolution of Parliament, has to resign his office within four days if the vote succeeds. It is for this reason that though the Leader of the Opposition, Honourable Advocate Duma Boko’s recent vote of no confidence was theoretically against the Government, it was effectively against His Excellency the President, Mokgweetsi Masisi.      


For many, including some Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs), the vote of no confidence tabled by Hon. Boko on 10th July 2018 came as a surprise. This is so because, ordinarily, a vote of no confidence is brought following failures in governance and leadership that an ordinary person would have been aware of for some time or after a singular, but colossal governance and/or leadership failure.


Often, before an MP can table a vote of no confidence there would have been public outcry calling for the Government’s removal. In some instances, there would have been demonstrations, protests and general public disquiet. In a representative democracy such as ours, an MP cannot just move a vote with such implications as the removal of a democratically elected Government from office, albeit constitutionally, without there being a general public inclination in that regard.


It appears many Opposition MPs were also not aware of the vote. When speaking to Duma FM on 11th July 2018, the Secretary General for the Alliance for Progressives (AP), Honourable Dr. Phenyo Butale, stated that the AP was not aware of the vote, and it, therefore, had no party position on it. Hon. Butale’s words were confirmed by Independent MP, Honourable Kgosi Tawana Moremi II, formerly of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), who also spoke to Duma FM on the same day.


Kgosi Moremi II stated that it is for this reason that many Opposition MPs did not participate in the debate, stating that the situation was worsened by the unpalatable illustrations used by Hon. Boko to support his vote. Some have said Hon. Boko’s vote was as much unwarranted as the failed attempt by the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) to oust H.E Masisi through the courts when it argued that his presidency ended after seven days of his ‘temporary assumption of office’, but later withdrew the application.


Some have accused Hon. Boko of being an attention seeker who used the vote as a strategy to deflect the public’s attention from the problems bedeviling the Opposition and him personally as leader of both the Botswana National Front (BNF) and the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). Kgosi Moremi II has, however, argued that even if it is true that Hon. Boko was, by tabling the vote, seeking attention and seeking to deflect the public’s attention from the issues bedeviling the UDC, BNF and himself, there is nothing wrong with that.


Kgosi Moremi II argues that rather than judging people on their motive for pursuing certain courses of action, we should, as a people, rather make judgment on the results and/or impact of their actions. Some have laughed off Hon. Boko’s vote, saying it is against Hon. Boko himself that a vote of no confidence should be tabled in the BNF and UDC because he has failed to lead the Opposition, resulting in the split in the BMD, which gave birth to a splinter party, the AP.


According to them, Hon. Boko has failed to bring unity within the UDC, the result being the continuous conflicts within the BMD and between the BMD and the BCP as evidenced by the recent spat between Advocate Sidney Pilane and Dumelang Saleshando which was leaked in social media. It is probably because of the aforesaid reasons that Hon. Boko’s vote was resoundingly defeated, with a vote of 35 against, 11 for and 3 abstentions. Considering the fact that there are 19 Opposition MPs, it is clear that the vote did not even get the support of the Opposition itself.


But, besides the accusations against Hon. Boko, the question is: has H.E Masisi’s government, within the 100 days he has been President, failed in its duties or committed legal or moral wrongs that a vote of no confidence against it was warranted? According to the Voice’s online edition of 12th July 2018, one of the reasons given by Hon. Boko in support of his vote is that H.E Masisi is unfit to lead the country because he has been implicated in the embezzlement of the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) funds.


The other reason he is said to have given is that by refusing former President Lieutenant General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s recommendation for the appointment of former Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS), Colonel Isaac Kgosi, as his Private Secretary, H.E Masisi is violating Khama’s rights, stating that there is a case in his office regarding such refusal.


It is common cause that the NPF issue has been before the courts before H.E Masisi assumed the presidency, and before he became clothed with protection in respect of legal proceedings in terms of section 41 of the Constitution of Botswana. It is also common cause that after assuming the presidency, H.E. Masisi, in his first cabinet reshuffle, removed former Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology & Energy Security, Advocate Sadique Kebonang, who was alleged to be involved in the NPF scandal.


While some were satisfied with Advocate Kebonang’s removal, arguing that H.E Masisi would not have acted as such if he were involved in the scandal, some argued to the contrary saying Kebonang was a mere sacrificial lamb. They argued that the reason H.E Masisi has not agreed to the establishment of a judicial commission of enquiry to investigate the NPF saga is that he fears that he, and his associates, will be exposed.


I agree that a scandal of the magnitude of the NPF is worth a vote of no confidence on a government. However, considering that this scandal happened when Khama was in office and that while Khama did nothing H.E. Masisi acted as shown above, it is disingenuous for the vote to be brought now when Khama has left office.


As regards H.E. Masisi’s refusal to accede to Khama’s recommendation for Kgosi’s appointment it is a matter which, in my view, is not worth wasting Parliament’s time with a vote of no confidence. If the matter has any merit, which I dispute, it belongs to the courts, not Parliament. One thing I am certain about is that considering the disquiet that Kgosi has caused our people, Hon. Boko, cannot claim to be representing Batswana by calling for a vote of no confidence on the Government for H.E. Masisi’s refusal to accede to his appointment as Khama’s Private Secretary.      


But, besides the two issues which are reported to have been the basis for Hon. Boko’s vote, there question is: is there justifiable cause for the vote of no confidence against the Government and, by extension, H.E Masisi? To answer this question, a cursory assessment of H.E Masisi’s record, including the appointments, transfers and dismissals he made, since assuming the presidency is apposite.


Since assuming the presidency, H.E Masisi has appointed His Honour the Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane; dropped ministers alleged of corruption and appointed Honourable Nonofo Molefhi as Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration MPAGP&A) despite challenging him for the Botswana Democratic Party(BDP) chairpersonship.


He has also retained such of Honourable Molefhi’s supporters as Honorables Biggie Butale, Fidelis Molao, Phillip Makgalemele and Dorcus Makgatho in his cabinet; and removed Honourable Eric Molale and Ruth Maphorisa from MPAGP&A and the Directorate on Public Service Management (DPSM) respectively following a decade long cry by trade unions.


H.E Masisi has also showed consciousness for youth empowerment and gender equality as well as rewarding excellence by appointing a young woman, Honourable Bogolo Kenewendo, as the Minister of Investment, Trade & Industry. He has, also after a decade long cry over the DISS’s alleged maladministration, brutality and interception of Opposition leaders’ communications, removed the hitherto untouchable and feared former Director General of the Directorate on Intelligence & Security Services (DISS), Colonel Isaac Kgosi.


Besides the cabinet reshuffle, transfers and dismissals, H.E Masisi has undertaken some activities which are worth consideration in evaluating whether or not Hon. Boko’s vote of no confidence was warranted. Firstly, though he took more than four months to hold a Press Conference, H.E Masisi did, on 10th July 2018, hold a Press Conference to which journalists from all media houses were invited. In listening to the Press Conference, which was broadcast live, one got the impression that the journalists were free in asking questions and H.E Masisi answered the questions without evasion.
 
 
Secondly, speaking at the Press Conference, H.H Masisi assured Batswana that the long awaited Bills on Declaration of Assets & Liabilities and Access to Information shall be tabled before Parliament by the end of this year. Thirdly, also speaking during the Press Conference, H.H Masisi stated that he will, on 12th July 2018, meet with the leaders of Opposition parties. The last such meeting was in 2008. During the Khama regime, the All Party Conference did not convene.


Fourth, in an effort to attract investors thereby creating employment, H.E Masisi has instructed his Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, Honourable Dorcas Makgato, to make the process of applying for residence permits, work permits and Visas one seamless process. Fifth, H.E Masisi has reportedly met with trade union leaders in an effort to restore the relations which were strained during Khama’s reign.


Sixth, H.E Masisi is on record stating that the Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, Honourable Tshenolo Mabeo, has been given strict instructions to restore the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC). Seventh, right from his first week in office, H.E Masisi showed his willingness to prioritize foreign relations by visiting Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries as well as the United Kingdom and Mauritius.     


On the negative side, H.E Masisi has failed to establish a Commission of Inquiry on the NPF saga and has defended the Act on Electronic Voting Machines despite public outcry against the Act. H.E Masisi has also not made any commitment of at least taking such issues as political party funding; direct presidential elections; changing the electoral system from first past the post to proportional representation and recall of MPs and Councillors to a referendum.


His government has also stated that it does not intend changing Botswana Television and Radio Botswana I and II from state broadcasters to public broadcasters despite complaints that they are biased in favor of the ruling BDP. The question is: can the majority of Batswana, having regard to H.E Masisi’s achievements and failures aforesaid, come to the conclusion that H.E Masisi and his government have failed to the extent that they should be removed through a vote of no confidence?


In my view, the majority of Batswana, including members of the Opposition, cannot come to that conclusion, especially that H.E Masisi has only been in office for about 100 days. Not even the claim that Hon. Boko’s vote was warranted because H.E Masisi has failed to create employment and eradicate poverty has merit. Who can bring solutions to such complex issues in 100 days?  

Cartoon

Polls

Do you think the closure of BCL will compel SPEDU to double their efforts in creating job opportunities in the Selibe Phikwe?

banner_14.jpg
banner_12.jpg

POPULER BRANDS