‘I can feel that I am a duly elected President’ – MEK
Courageous, looks to 2024 with confidence
Unshaken by critics’ calls for his resignation
‘Social media vulgarities may scare potential investors’
Despite growing criticism, inside and outside his government, President Mokgweetsi Masisi, has reiterated that he remains in a good mood and high level of focus, and will not be derailed by detractors.
Upon returning from a weeklong strategic trip to the US to attend the 76th United Nations General Assembly, Masisi threw potshots at his critics who consistently insist that he must step down. Masisi quipped that Botswana’s political landscape has changed to an extent that even his predecessor (Ian Khama) has publicly taken a position that he will never rest until he is out of power.
“The other reason that does not surprise me is that I am unique as the President. I’m unique because never has there been a President where in, his immediate predecessor has sworn publicly that he will never rest until his successor is down and out. So I see all this come, including some pastor who says I should step down and they want to meet the vice President. But above all I am in good spirit and not bothered,” he said.
Furthermore, Masisi boasted that although he is not the first President to be criticized, he is the most ever contemporary in the era of social media, where insults are hurled at him every day. What disturbs him most though, is that people young enough to be his children also insult him. “There is a whole lot of attacks and insults hurled at me on the social media. The things that are said there are not good at all for the image of the country because they can scare the investors. No investor would like to be associated with all the negativity that is said about the country these days. The landscape has changed and this somehow reflects the society that we are. It is like we are now rendering the country into some sort of banana republic due to things said about us,” he said.
Meanwhile, Masisi said he was also disturbed by allegations that the 2019 general elections were rigged but remains confident that he is the duly elected President, and therefore will not be frightened by calls for him to step down as his administration has been democratically elected.
He vowed to continue leading a democratic nation, warning his critics that 2024 is just around the corner where he will accept defeat if Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), which he leads, loses elections. “Tough luck to my opponents. I say to them that they must also be ready to accept defeat in 2024 when we triumph again. The High Court and Court of Appeal has emphasized that 2019 elections were not rigged,” said Masisi, dismissing the continuous criticism from his opponents.
Masisi said during his weeklong stay at the UN General Assembly attended a summit on the sidelines by president of United States of America (USA) Joe Biden, titled Ending Pandemic. He said key amongst those that were discussed was the global issue of a vaccine nationalism.
According to Masisi, there has been lot of condemnation over vaccine nationalism, an unequal distribution of vaccines which has negatively impacted more in African states failing to secure jabs. Also, he said the UN General Assembly pondered on the long outstanding matter of ending the sanctions against Zimbabwe, indicating that Botswana made it position that sanctions be lifted.
Regarding absence of peace in Mozambique as the country battles terrorism insurgency, Masisi said the assembly deliberated on the issue adding that Botswana Defence Force (BDF) soldiers are deployed and equally active on the mission despite the limelight taken by Rwandan troops on mission in Mozambique.
Meanwhile, Masisi is adamant that the country is in right trajectory to get knowledge economy status. As an endeavor towards a knowledge economy, he said Botswana can produce Covid-19 vaccines. “We have for a long time successfully produced cattle vaccines and I am confident we can do a produce of the human vaccines particularly for Covid-19. Knowledge economy won’t just come overnight because it is an ecosystem. We intend to create a society where are in a business of ideas where solutions are offered in a knowledgeable way to unlock growth potential,” he said.
As the Covid-19 ravaged the county’s economy, Masisi is confident that the country will recover. He said that it is important for the nation not to lose focus as the country exited from the State of Public Emergency (SoPE) which he said was never intended to be part of his government‘s DNA.