Oozing from confidence after being triumphant in the 2019 general elections and being given a full mandate to govern Botswana for the next five years, President Mokgweetsi Masisi addressed the media on his road map.
Uniting the nation
Masisi called on the nation to unite and not be divided along tribal lines as some people want them to be.
“Despite our political and ideological differences we remain a nations state, a republican nation state and the state becomes before an individual or an ethnic group,” he said.
Masisi said the founding president Sir Seretse Khama gave up his birth right as the paramount chief of Bangwato in order to stand firm on the republican principle and build a united nation and said it was followed by Sir Ketumile Masire and Festus Mogae but omitted his predecessor Ian Khama.
Ahead of the elections, there was fear that the country is on the brink of being divided along tribal lines and this came after some Bangwato said that the presidency of Botswana belongs to them commonly known as ‘lehura la ga Mmangwato’.
This led to the printing of t-shirts with portrait of former President Ian Khama with message ‘eseng mo go kgosikgolo’.
The formation of Botswana Patriot Front (BPF) which some regarded as a tribal group masquerading as political party worsened the narrative that Botswana is now divided on tribal lines and having former president Khama using his kgosikgolo status to campaign for his party and UDC raised the fears.
Election of women
Elections of Specially Elected Members of Parliament (SEMP) will be one of the first things that people will be looking at when President Masisi assumes office on the 1st of November 2019.
Touching on the issue, Masisi said that the nominations and elections of SEMPs will be heavily skewed towards women.
Currently only two women have made it to parliament being Annah Motlhagodi for Gaborone Bonnington North and Thalitha Monnakgotla of Kgalagadi North both from the BDP.
The Observers have declared the elections as free and fair but recommended some reforms.
President Elect Masisi said that they were happy that they managed to take control of the capital city after a long time. “We swept the stakes at constituencies that are traditionally opposition strongholds,” he said.
He congratulated the opposition for the constituencies they won but highlighted that they cannot extend the same to those constituencies that they won by default or by luck which he said is not attributable to them.
Political party funding
Ahead of the 2019 elections there were concerns that there were some external forces with interest in the country that are funding some political parties in order to facilitate regime changes. This brought into question the burning issue of political party funding as a way of curbing unaccounted funding.
President Masisi said that the involvement of the external forces is a threat that every democracy is exposed to. He said that they will have to take the nation about or it might come through constitutional review as the external funding some from private entities is very worrying.
Transforming the economy
President elect Masisi revealed that they are going to work closely with government in prioritizing and refining their policies in order to deliver on their manifesto.
“We will not be shy to borrow from outside in order to transform our economy,” he said adding that they are genuine friends who are ready to help Botswana.
Masisi said that they will formulate legislation that will promote citizen empowerment and help in unlocking, committing or commanding everybody to respond to it in order to access the resources of procurement particularly from government as well as capacitating SMMEs.
Botswana education has been taking a nose dive from poor results to dilapidated buildings and indiscipline among the students. Government has come with many interventions including the adoption of schools by the private sector but didn’t yield any positive results.
Addressing the issue, Masisi said in order to yield results in the sector government intends leasing some public schools to private entities.
“We are going to do a lot of things to energize, refine, refresh, and improve our education and training systems and sector. Learning and teaching is a long term process and a teacher is central to it,” he added.
The system is called charter schools and are public schools contracted out to the private sector and operated privately.