Thursday, July 9, 2020

“I owe you and the opposition an apology. We made a mistake on Khama” – Masisi

President Mokgweetsi Masisi late Friday admitted that the government made a mistake by amending the Former Presidents Benefits Act. 

Fielding questions from journalists upon his arrival from his official trip in the United States of America, Masisi apologized to the nation for wrongly amending the Act in question to please Khama.

According to Masisi, at the time opposition parties warned against the idea to please Khama but he and other ruling members of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) turned a blind eye. 

Tendering his apology to the nation, Masisi said: “I owe you and the opposition an apology. We made a mistake on Khama. We apologize for not listening to the opposition. It is sad. We thought it would never be like this. We thought the assurance that once I (in reference to Khama) am allowed to work I will not distabalise the government and this is a total somersault.”  

The President reiterated that “we made a mistake on the passing of the amendments to the former Presidents Benefits Act. We made a mistake taking it that when the Presidents retired they will not work. If they did their benefits were to be withdrawn; work is much influence.”

Masisi revealed that had they not made the “big mistake we would be withdrawing all benefits for former President Khama if he works because he is retired and should not be working as per the previous retired Presidents Benedict Act.”

According to Masisi “this is not a personal issue. If that leverage was there we would take back all the benefits he has but we changed the law for him.”

Masisi further stated that “We made a very big mistake. I’m the first to admit it, a very big mistake.  Because if that leverage was still there we would withdraw all the benefits that former President Khama has for engaging in politics again because he has retired.” 

Masisi also informed the nation that “Let me tell you that part of the reason I have refused to allow him (Khama) to use the chopper sometime was because in my view and assessment those trips were not as necessary as the government work that was to be done.”

Masisi said “I concluded that because he is in retirement; he is not a priority in terms of work. He is not in terms of work. You know moving soldiers to training or moving that and that is the priority of running the government. So please don’t trivialise this thing. It’s serious.”

Masisi also warned the nation that “If you want him (Khama) to return to the State House like he says he wants to come back as a retiree, have him and good luck. He will teach you a lesson.”

President Masisi on Friday also stated “that 

has he (Khama) tendered his resignation from the BDP, I do not know.  I have not seen a letter. But you know there are many ways of resigning.”

Masisi said that “even for Mr Biggie Butale (former assistant minister who quit the ruling party recently) I haven’t seen a letter, but you know in terms of our constitution rules. When you engage in acts like he has been engaging, you can’t be a member when you stand up and say you want the party to be voted out, and you want the leader of the party to lose.”

Masisi added that “You must go and ask the current Central Committee members how the very last Central Committee that the former HE Khama presided over went because he said he is the leader of the party until end of 2019.”

He revealed that “This is a following on a sequel of sorts of indicators of what we are seeing now that he will be the face of the party going to 2019 elections. He will be the chief campaigner during 2019 elections.”

Masisi said: “Every Friday we wear black, white and blue like I’m wearing now. I didn’t know that we were wearing it to form a new party. I was under the impression that we are wearing it to unite the nation.”

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Sunday Standard July 5 – 11

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of July 5 - 11, 2020.