- Ordered to be presidential and magnanimous
- Masisi struggling to remain silent and keep the promise
- Elders Council say Khama, Masisi welcome to mediation idea
The President, Mokgweetsi Masisi has been advised against countering his predecessor, Ian Khama’s public spat and has been advised to be magnanimous, but is struggling to remain silent and keep the promise, The Botswana Gazette can reveal.
The duo ‘s cutthroat dispute has been in the public domain since May this year as Khama has been uncharacteristically open, characteristically unapologetic and brutal in his approach, while the presidency has been speaking through actions.
“Masisi has been ordered by his senior advisors to rise above everything and be presidential but seems to be struggling a bit. Naturally he is not one to spare his word at an attack if you know him well hence his struggle. The plan is to make Khama irrelevant and to create a scenario where he will be barking at the elephant,” revealed a family member very close to Masisi “Masisi has advisors outside government and party structures who are very senior members of our society who meet him regularly.”
The source said the Permanent Secretary, Carter Morupisi has been given the authority and the freedom to respond fairly and firmly as he sees fit to Khama’s attacks and conduct.
“So far he has done exceptionally well to represent the presidency and what it stands for. A careful eye would have long noticed that Morupisi has upped his gear and has been displaying some flair and backbone in the manner in which he has been addressing the issues,” revealed our source who said Masisi only comes in where there is a serious crisis to be dealt with, as with the recent elephant saga where his voice was necessarily calm when the Khamas launched an internationally coordinated campaign against Masisi and his commitment to conservation. Masisi labeled the campaign a “blue lie.”
Masisi has however undertaken to the council of elders, not to be vengeful to drop Tshekedi Khama who is seen as the elephant in the room and protecting the Khama family interests. Tshekedi sits at the ruling party’s highest decision-making structure-the central committee and government highest decision-making structure-cabinet. Tshekedi recently took the party to court and accused its Secretary General of misconduct. It is still unclear whether the BDP will take disciplinary action against either member given the nature of the allegations.
The decision to advise Masisi against responding to Khama directly was to protect the dignity of the presidency and that of the party which is moving towards an uncertain election in October next year, our source revealed. “We admit that while Khama is not bigger than the party, he is still a popular figure in the country. In fact all former presidents are when they are still fresh from the presidency,” further adding that “with his current mentality, he can harm the party ‘s prospects for 2019 elections and ruin Masisi’s chances and presidency.”
The source further reveals that Khama will be subdued once Masisi has taken full control of the state apparatus including the DIS which is still undergoing cleansing. “We admit that the Directorate of Intelligence Services is still infiltrated with some who may be serving the former bosses but everything will be addressed and dealt with fully post 2019.”
The source revealed that was not correct that Masisi and Khama had been brought to the table by the party’s elder’s council, whose mandate is to mediate between party members as requested by the party leadership.
When reached for comment to shed clarity on the matter, the Elders council vice chairperson, David Magang said they were shocked to hear and read in the newspapers that they have met and that Khama has rejected their efforts.
“That was just somebody’s imagination. We have indicated our wish to meet them and have informed them. But they have been busy with their schedules. As you know the president has been in China and now heads to the United Nations General Assembly where he will hold a series of meetings with the international committee. So, we await a time when they are both free.” Magang declined to field follow up questions saying it would not be wise but added that both Khama and Masisi had embraced the idea.
According to The Botswana Gazette’s source Khama will cease to be the party’s chief elections campaigner, as previously undertaken by Khama and has had his benefits limited to the requirements of the legislation parliament passed under his administration, since Masisi took over from him. Khama has reached out to the private media for coverage and has vowed to finance his lifestyle. It is not clear how long this will last and what should happen for it to end.