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Boko pours petrol on Masisi/Khama battle

Publishing Date : 18 July, 2018

Author : ALFRED MASOKOLA

Leader of the Opposition, Advocate Duma Boko this week challenged President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s refusal to appoint former Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS), Isaac Kgosi, as former President Lt Gen Ian Khama’s Private Secretary, a reason which he said among others qualifies parliament to move a motion of no confidence against Masisi and his government.


In a shock development, Boko spoke on the side of ex-president Khama and Kgosi, a few months after declaring that he will take the latter to court and have him prosecuted for his involvement in the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) scandal. The motion of confidence failed after 35 legislators voted against it, while only 11 supported the motion and three abstained.


When presenting the motion, Boko argued that there is a serious uncertainty and anxiety in the security sector as certain personnel in that sector seem singled out and targeted for termination or removal without being afforded proper and fair hearing. “This poses an imminent and present danger to the security of the country,” argued Boko. “This is a matter of a grave nature and of utmost public importance is patently clear and that it must therefore admit the most swift and urgent attention by this parliament is required in order to give certainty to the citizenry.”


Boko also expressed detestation of Masisi’s decision to bring back officer who were fired by Khama back into the civil service to replace those who are associated with Khama’s administration. A month after assuming office, Masisi expelled the controversial DIS director from office, replacing him with Khama’s foe, Brigadier Peter Magosi. Brig Magosi had been removed from office while serving in the BDF by then president, Khama under cloudy circumstances.


Although Masisi’s decision was hailed as a good move, by among others leader of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), the decision was considered a poke in the eye of the former president. Masisi recently refused to re-appoint Kgosi back into the civil service following a request by his predecessor.  Khama had submitted Kgosi’s name to Masisi for consideration as his Private Secretary following the retirement of Brigadier George Tlhalerwa.


Boko indicated that Kgosi had since sought legal opinion from his office, a revelation that was startling. Despite Boko having initiated a motion that expresses his sympathy for Khama and his lieutenants, a few days after Masisi’s appointment, the leader of the opposition expressed that Masisi will be a better president than his predecessor.


“Masisi will be much slightly better than Khama, at least at the level of engagement and being able to talk and listening to each other, and respecting certain protocols. For example appreciating that the LOO does not imply writing him (LOO) telling him what to do but consulting him and engaging with him robustly,” the UDC leader told WeekendPost in April.


Boko contended in his motion of no confidence against Masisi that the latter has since assumption of office, in his approach to national issues as well as key appointment into the public service, excluded certain competent, and qualified individuals ostensibly on the basis of their regional and ethnic origins. “The recent appointments of Chief Justice as well as the appointment of the Director of Intelligence and his Deputy are cases in point,” contended Boko.“In the case of the latter two, the current President has appointed individuals who were facing certain accusations or allegations of impropriety on the basis of which the former President of Botswana had taken decisions to retire or remove them from public office.”  


BDP RESPONSE TO MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE

There are reports indicating that there are scores of MPs who are not happy with Masisi’s leadership. This has been expressed in different ways, something which Masisi is aware of. This week, while addressing members of the press, Masisi conceded that there is a talk of a potential challenger to his throne during next year’s special congress, convened specifically for the purpose of electing party president during the election year.  


Prior to the press conference, Masisi had presided over a joint meeting between his cabinet as well as backbenchers. The purpose of the meeting was to gauge the mood, solicit for support as well as to engage the MPs and hear their concerns. Information known by this publication indicates that Masisi’s rule is not yet safe and he still has more to do to consolidate his power. “I have asked them if they were [challenging him] and they said they were not. Do not think I asked like a novice; am a politician and asked knowing with full knowledge of what he is going on,” he said.


Masisi said that in the event that one democrat wants to challenge him, there are free to do so as per the constitution. Masisi also expressed his readiness for such eventuality, even though he is convinced that what seems to be party tradition will obtain at the end of the day. No sitting BDP president has ever been challenged since independence, something which has helped to maintain unity and continuity for the ruling party.  


BDP MPs ACCUSSE BOKO OF BEING A HIRED GUN

Meanwhile in parliament, Boko’s motion was rejected, as BDP legislators rallied in favour of Masisi.  The debate also expressed how many in the BDP feel about the relationship between Khama led administration against that of Masisi. “I suspect the mover [Boko] is a hired gun that came to this house under the disguise of moving a motion of national importance while he is being fuelled to come to this house and rubble rouse for certain people,” said Assistant Minister of Tertiary Education, Fidelis Molao.


“He is doing the bidding for certain people and it is dangerous. It is fortunate that he has shown his colours this early so that Batswana should see him for who he really is towards 2019.” Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi also dismissed Boko, indicating that Boko has never loved Khama, and would never be the best placed person to talk about the subject. Other MPs who debated the motion include Dorcas Makgato, Nonofo Molefhi, Dr Tlamelo Mmatli, Kgosi Tawana Moremi II and Vice President Slumber Tsogwane. BDP prevailed in the vote that ensued.

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