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Khama, Masisi clash may lead to civil war

Publishing Date : 10 September, 2018


The ongoing war between the former president Lt. Gen. Ian Khama and incumbent president Mokgweetsi Masisi may lead to civil war if not managed properly, a political analyst has warned. The renowned political analyst and a University of Botswana (UB) lecturer, Leornard Sesa, warned that the fight is not only healthy for the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) but also for the country.  

“There is a serious war between Khama and those aligned to him and, Masisi and those close to him on the other hand,” Sesa told WeekendPost. He continued: “If it [the feud between the Khama and Masisi continues], I foresee a civil war. If the conflict continues, I insist that we may end up hearing the civil war that is foreign to this country.”

This comes at a time when there has been talk of north/south between the duo in which Khama while president was said to have brought in Masisi, from the South, to neutralise such narrative but it appears the decision was short lived. Khama’s younger brother, Tshekedi Khama also confirmed to this publication recently that, “It is true that I was accused by some Northerners especially some Bangwato that I have given the Chairmanship to a Southerner. They could not believe it. I was shocked upon hearing this. I felt let down that some people are unable to let other people prosper just because they are from somewhere.”

He continued then that, “… and so I told Masisi of my intention not to stand for BDP Chairmanship if it was an issue of north/south divide as suspected. I was the first to recognise that, and took a decision to distill that myth.” As the relationship between the duo deteriorates, the UB Political analysts said the ball is in Masisi’s court as he has powers to call Khama to order. He insisted: “Masisi should therefore call Khama to his office. They should meet and iron out their differences. Khama should show a sense of maturity to the president. They should ask themselves where it did go wrong.  Then they should solve the issue for good of the country.”


The UB lecturer said we must all acknowledge that both the ruling BDP and opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) are not well. So the only way that makes the different is their approach in so far as they tackle their issues. “UDC mostly exposes themselves to the public in the way they have been treating each other and evidenced in the leaks we have been getting from them while the BDP has been applying diplomacy in trying to address their conflicts but the situation for both parties is getting worse.”

He said BDP primaries may birth a lot of issues and protests; including independent candidates. In terms of the UDC, the political analyst pointed out that the message that needs to go straight to the UDC is that they “have disappointed the electorates.” He reminisced that “look at how they performed in 2014 General Elections, and where they are now since then, they have regressed and it is a pity.”

Sesa said the UDC should go back to the drawing board while adding that it will take time for voters to embrace them again and cast votes in their favour. The best thing, he said, is for UDC to come out and state the status quo as it is to gain trust from the few that still believes in them. He said failing which, the BDP may capitalise and Masisi end-up gaining from it.


Sesa stated that both the ruling party and the opposition must put their houses in order as a matter of urgency. “I still believe that BDP, UDC must act. It’s really up to them.” Sesa said three months from now, following the ongoing voter registration, we will be able to gauge what might happen in 2019 between the two main parties.” He continued: “they have to iron out their issues as they will be soon talking to people who would have already registered. So they need to prepare a full package to go to the voters; build and regain trust.”

By the look of things, Sesa said they won’t be voter apathy as Batswana electorates now take their voting seriously. “I am convinced that Batswana will register in large numbers to make decisions in 2019. I think they will take the coming elections seriously. I foresee them registering them en masse to see how parties will solve their problems. Maturity in solving inner party conflicts will contribute immensely,” he said.


Sesa emphasised the issue of civil war bearing in mind that the issue of the country’s security may also have been tempered with following the unceremonious expulsion of Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General, Colonel Isaac Kgosi, replacing him with Brigadier Peter Magosi.Magosi was expelled by Khama while the former was still serving in the army.  

Therefore naturally Magosi is aligned to Masisi while Kgosi with Khama. The ex-president is even intending to sue Masisi’s government for refusing to appoint Kgosi as his Private Secretary against his wish. Sesa stressed that the two centers of power if left unattended may turn the country into a civil war and it appears they will also give Masisi a torrid time towards the 2019 General Elections.



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