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President Mokgweetsi Masisi has allayed fears that he may have lost control of the country following running fights with his predecessor Lt Gen Ian Khama and assured the nation that he is “confidently and competently” in charge of country, party and government.
He also said notwithstanding the hiccups occasioned by differences with his predecessor, he remained resolutely determined.
In an interview President Masisi said the dispute and difficulties of transition between him and former president Ian Khama have not distracted him from his primary mandate.
He went further to say he was much more focused than many are able to determine.
There has been a groundswell of public concerns over possibilities that the dispute with Khama might be taking its toll on the Head of State, thereby rendering him ill at ease or even unable to fully deliver on the priorities he has set for himself and his government.
“I feel confidently and competently in charge. There may be arguments about the extent and nuances of stability rather than my ability to make things happen. I have examples to give. Why have I been able to do things I have been able to do if I were not in charge? “
He however acknowledged that if not resolved his dispute with Khama has the potential to go out of hand.
“You cannot afford not to pay attention to it because it has the potential to grow out of proportion and start causing disturbance,” the president said.
He said his strategy has been to stay candid, and also ask and demand those working with to be candid.
“But I am much focused. And the extent of my resolve is more than what you might perceive,” he said.
When addressing what Botswana’s international partners’ reactions might have been so far on the political storm raging in Botswana – a country many had long come to regard as Africa’s beacon of political tranquility, Masisi said other countries have been taken “aback.”
“I do not know the extent to which I can take you into confidence about their response. But to put it mildly, they have been taken aback,” he said.
On whether or not the ruling party will not be badly affected by shenanigans playing out, he said the death of the Botswana Democratic Party has on numerous occasions before been predicted before, only for such predictions to prove untrue. “This will come to pass,” he said.
He said the current shuffling for positions inside the party were by his view healthy because they motivated incumbents to do even better.
He also admitted that for some in the party the ongoing internal debates have been too spirited as to appear unhealthy.
“I like these debates. They are good for performance. I am also very happy with the public service even though unlike us, by nature they do not engage in spirited debates like us in politics.”
He said the current BDP Central Committee has shown a kind of robust debating culture that he has not seen in a long time.