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Masisi demands loyalty from Ministers, MPs

Publishing Date : 16 April, 2018

Author : KETUMILE RAMATITI

With barely two weeks in office, President Mokgweetsi Masisi has taken a rather ambitious move in asking legislators to pledge their allegiance to him. The president has vowed to take action against legislators and ministers who portray signs of unfaithfulness to him, the party and the nation, this publication has established.


This week the President, according to sources, was not as friendly as he was four days into his term at a meeting the party held to nominate his deputy. In fact, it is said, the president showed his firm side, as he drilled his philosophies to the newly assembled cabinet along with laying down his modus operandi as his 18 months tenure gets underway.


President Masisi was reportedly stern at this particular meeting, especially towards the ministers, informants told this publication. At the top of his demands, sources say, the president wants ministers to pay patronage to him and the party if they are to avail government initiatives to Batswana and ensure their party retains power in the next year’s general elections.


The seemingly nervous ministers and legislators had to dance to their boss’s tune and promised the president that come what may they will do everything to show their faithfulness to him and the party. “Most of us were worried and some had to assure the president of their loyalty, especially junior ministers who have just been given ministerial responsibilities. They were so fearful but we believe this is just a party meeting, everyone should relax and not feel intimidated,” a source from the gathering shared with this paper.


Those who cannot pay the price of loyalty, it is said will be booted out of their ministerial positions as they will be failing the president’s plan to uplift the lives of the citizens. On the other hand, it was not clear as to what he will do to the backbenchers. “He was so tough and we were so concerned about his hardline because it appears as if he has captured us with these posts but we are not because we were voted by the people, a ministerial position is something else and rather it may reduce our chances to see our electorates,” one minister said on Tuesday.


Most Ministers and the backbenchers after the Tuesday tongue lash are in the dark as to what could have triggered Masisi’s stern words. “We understand he could be instilling his game-plan but it was not necessary, what have we done for him to doubt us, we are new in these roles and we won’t disappoint but already he is kind of panicking,” another minister said.


While most of those who attended the meeting agree with the president on setting demands for his subordinates, what they advise against is the manner and the tone the President was using. “For him to be the president we should win constituencies and he should talk to us in a friendly manner. He should bear in mind there are heavyweights out there who can mobilize regions to recall him. We just need eight out of 14 constituencies to do that,” another party member asserted.


Party chief whip Liakat Kablay could not confirm the details of the meeting as he was absent at the meeting. Though not expressly pronounced, it is believed that Masisi wants to extert total control of the party hence he wants to instill ‘his methods’ in the party. “If you look carefully it is like he wants to ensure of his power as a president and he knows that without cabinet support he will be doomed and he is trying by all means to have a solid grip because he can be recalled if regions want to,” another minister said.


President Masisi’s message resonated well with a number of Ministers and Members of Parliament who attended the meeting. Moiseraele Goya, Ronald Shamukuni, Edwin Batshu, Itumeleng Moipisi and Ngaka Ngaka are some of the names said to have pledged allegiance to the president even after his intimidating address. Masisi has made it clear that he wants a resounding victory for the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in 2019 and his team wants Members of Parliament to pull together.


MOLALE UNHAPPY OVER ‘DEMOTION’

Meanwhile there are reports which suggest that Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Eric Molale is unhappy with his removal from Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration. “He was one of the vocal ones during President Lt Gen Ian Khama administration now he is quite,” said a source from the party.


Molale was replaced with Nonofo Molefhi and observers are confident that President Masisi’s move could be a master stroke because the former had a rough relationship with the rank and file of the civil service. Molefhi’s calm approach is expected to draw public servants closer to ruling party. “As a former employee of the same ministry Molale believed it’s his rightful portfolio and he never expected to be moved. If at all he was to be moved he thought he would take over in the Defence ministry as the two are the most senior followed by Local government,” highlighted a source this week.

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