- President made promise ahead of 2019 general elections
- Opposition says Masisi’s is a talk show without action
Almost four years later, President Mokgweetsi Masisi is yet to revive the All Party Conference (APC) after promising to do so in the run-up to the 2019 general elections, The Botswana Gazette has established.
In the year preceding the general elections, the President’s undertaking was given substance when he called a historic meeting with leaders of opposition parties to discuss revival of the APC with them. At the meeting, Masisi stated that the purpose was to establish initial rapport with them before a formal APC could be called.
“The government has decided to revive the APC in keeping with our traditions of consultative governance,” he said. “We shall discuss the modalities such as the frequency of the meetings and the ambiance, that is the venue most suitable and various issues to be addressed there.”
Talk show sans action
“The APC would enable political stakeholders to engage on issues of national interest as well as provide a platform to discuss means of improving national democratic landscape.”
However, almost four years later, President Masisi is yet to call the APC. Reached for comment, the Secretary General of the Botswana Congress Party, (BCP), Goretetse Kekgonegile, characterised Masisi’s presidency as a talk show with no action.
“We are not surprised and are not expecting Masisi to revive the APC because most of the promises he made ahead of 2019 general elections were just a political posturing,” Kekgonegile said.
“We have never heard from him ever since the first meeting with opposition leaders. He is not a democratic person even in his party. We therefore don’t expect anything democratic from him in relation to opposition parties.”
Similarly, Secretary General of the Botswana National Front (BNF), Ketlhalefile Motshegwa, dismissed Masisi’s APC promise as hogwash, saying the President was only playing to the gallery for political mileage. “I do not think he meant it because he is not an accommodative person,” he said. “It is therefore impossible to work with the opposition parties.”
At the Alliance for Progressives (AP), Secretary General Dr Phenyo Butale responded: “What Masisi said was just the usual posturing of the BDP before elections,” he said. “He is going to make another one as we approach the next general elections.”
Ahead of the 2019 elections, Masisi made several other promises that his critics have also labelled political posturing. One of them was resuscitation of the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) and funding of political parties by the government.
Reached for comment, the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng, promised to respond after finding information but was yet to return to The Gazette at the time of going to press.