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President Mokgweetsi Masisi offered four times to resign as vice president but on all occasions former president declined his offers.
In a tell all interview, Masisi told the Sunday Standard that in addition to his offers to resign, there have been separate numerous attempts to remove him from his previous position of vice president.
More specifically he remembered a cabinet retreat meeting held in Tlokweng on January 17, 2017, whereat several of his cabinet colleagues made calls on him to resign by making certain allegations about himself.
He said at that meeting he proved point by point the falsity of all the allegations made against him, but still went ahead in the end to offer his resignation if the president so desired.
“I fully dispelled the reasons they gave. They were dishonest reasons. But still I offered to resign if my president wanted me to go.”
He said he offered to resign because at the time when he became vice president he had made three undertakings to his boss; “to always respect him, never embarrass him, party and government and to always submit to his desires in terms of my placement or deployment because that’s in keeping in consonance with constitution of the party and government. I said if I am a problem I would immediately go and I would find the vocabulary to explain it. But I don’t want to have untruths said about me being the basis for my going. That I would fight with all might,” he said.
For all the numerous calls by some colleagues to step down as vice president he said he had no evidence of any attempts on his life as a way of trying to eliminate him.
“Botswana is rich with imaginations. About poisoning I have no evidence of the source of that. And it didn’t make me a different president. Whatever happened, I said look I am going to start afresh,” he said in reference to reports of poisoning and also about a military aircraft that crashed killing three service men that was on its way to pick him for an official engagement.
For all his past difficulties with some of his cabinet colleagues that had wanted him sacked, Masisi says he harbours neither hard feelings nor ill will.
“I am a survivor. I have survived all manner of attempts to have me removed. There were many in cabinet who were completely convinced that I was not fit for duty. But I was clear on one thing that I would never bully myself or bully anybody into clinging onto this job of vice president. I offered my resignation on four different occasions … for various reasons but they were declined,” he said
On corruption at the National Petroleum Fund, which some of his opponents have time after time linked him to, Masisi said “there are some spirited investigations going on. Very spirited! In fact I had to change my paragraph in the State of the National Address to remove seeming impatience with matters of corruption to allow for toleration and acceptance of what I was being told was happening by investigating agencies.”
On the possibility of yet another motion of no confidence coming his way, he said he was not worried because the ruling party majority in parliament is sufficient to argue why it should not pass.
“But in the case they are unable or unwilling to, it should pass and clearly confidence would have been lost and automatic consequences would set in motion. I am not worried about, not at all.”
Have you been a beneficiary of NPF?
“It must be stated that these were allegations stated right from the beginning that I was a beneficiary of NPF, and that my former boss was a beneficiary of NPF among others. One of my first actions was to go and see my former boss and clarify this and state to him as I do state now that I have not taken any NPF money. I have not. But anybody is free to prove that I Mokgweetsi Masisi took NPF money. And in the event that I need to defend myself I will so do because I did not. Multiple investigating agencies are right on it. I am hopeful that we will make some breakthroughs.”