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AP praises Khama; pours cold water on Masisi presidency

Publishing Date : 16 April, 2018

Author : UTLWANANG GASENNELWE

Deputy leader of Alliance for Progressives (AP) Wynter Mmolotsi has showered praises on the outgoing President Lt. Gen. Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama while denouncing the newly inaugurated President Mokgweetsi Masisi.


Speaking to Weekend Post just outside parliament this week, few days after the appointment of Masisi as president, Mmolotsi stated that Khama is the most contemporary popular leader this country has witnessed.  “But what you should know is that there will never be any man in this country who will be as popular as Khama. So, as popular as he is, if Khama failed to wipe us out politically, who else can? Just be rest assured then that Masisi cannot do anything, he can’t handle us politically,” AP leader warned.


He asserted that “Khama was very popular because of many reasons; some of them being that he was a president who is the son of the founding father and first president of this country Sir Seretse Khama.” He was also for some time the commander of the powerful Botswana Defense Force (BDF), he said.


According to Mmolotsi, Khama was so powerful that he was alleged to possess some miracles while still a soldier, like turning himself into a fly in the battlefield so that enemies cannot easily identify him “and that’s what we were told when we grew up and he was such popular with those folktales.”


The former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) legislator says this, Khama, is the man who command a lot of immense popularity and when he shows up, people crowd in large numbers. And, he emphasised that “that’s why am saying Masisi can not threaten us if we have survived a man as powerful as Khama. That is our position.”


Mmolotsi stressed that what he has realized about Batswana is that they follow a popular person or leader, and that to be honest Khama was very popular. He added: “and so many Batswana followed him and his party. But if you take Masisi as an example, his popularity is not even half of Khama’s popularity.”


The Francistown legislator also implied that Batswana saw Khama as un-humane like. “People didn’t see him as human. Even his flattering in speaking the native language of Setswana, people didn’t make an issue with it, and instead they loved and embraced it. And this amassed votes for him and his party. Even this was too revealing for him. Even what was supposed to be a negative attribute was turned into a positive for Khama and it worked well for him precisely because of the way people loved him.”


So, he also told Weekend Post that, it is for that reason why they remain very comfortable that “there will never be any Khama in this country” and that “Masisi will never get any of Khama’s popularity.” This, Mmolotsi said will help them and work for them as the opposition parties in Botswana as all ordinary citizens will compete fairly and competitively. “So, Masisi is just an ordinary person unlike Khama. Khama you would think that he was immortal or more of a human being,” he pointed out.


However the AP Member of Parliament explained that “but I wouldn’t say Masisi is weaker, what I can say is that he is an ordinary man like any other. What would only place him above us (as president) is that he is entitled to campaign with a chopper, OK1 and all other government resources.”


In terms of whether he is the son of the former president, Mmolotsi said it won’t apply on him (Masisi) adding that in Francistown where he comes from, they don’t even know his (president)’s father Edison Masisi who was former Moshupa lawmaker from 1965 to 1999 and served as Minister in the Office of the president. So, that’s put us on equal footing, the opposition leader said. The Francistown South two times legislator also said Masisi has been around and they know him well and don’t expect much from him.


“Masisi is not new to leadership. He has been around. He has been deputizing Khama for some time. Even as we were leading towards the 2014 General Elections he was around. So it can’t be as if Masisi and his administration have been catapulted to Botswana from somewhere alien. So we know him very well. Our strategy to the next General elections is in no way linked to Masisi.”


In addition, Mmolotsi said as AP they are working on elaborate plan, with or without Masisi, to take the new party to the next 2019 General Elections. “All I can say is that Batswana must know that it doesn’t matter whether the ruling BDP is under Khama, Masisi, Molefhi or whoever, nothing will change,” he said.

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