Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Motion of no-confidence in Masisi headed back to parliament

Another attempt to oust President Mokgweetsi Masisi through a motion of no-confidence is said to be in the works.

In the previous session of parliament, the Leader of the Opposition, Duma Boko (who rarely tables motions) tabled such motion under a certificate of urgency. However, the motion failed to both gain passage and garner support even from the entire opposition bench. There has been public reporting that former President Ian Khama, who is at the forefront of a campaign to oust Masisi, was behind the motion. While not mentioning names, some Botswana Democratic Party MPs said that Boko was doing somebody else’s dirty work when debating the motion. A BDP member who has been closely associated with Khama, Tshepang Mabaila, is rumoured to have lobbied party MPs to support the motion.

It has always been speculated that the motion would be retabled and in the not too distant past, Francistown South MP, Ignatius Moswaane, was named as the likely retabler. Moswaane denied having such intent and Boko’s name is once being mentioned in the bid to revive the motion. A parliament source says that with the Masisi-Khama feud becoming more public and pronounced, a group of BDP MPs who support the former president are likely to support the motion. If this group acts in concert with the opposition bench, there is a likelihood that the motion could gain passage. Before that, however, two things have to happen.

Firstly, the mover of the mover has to give notice of intent to table the motion. Ahead of parliamentary sessions, the secretariat officially invites MPs in writing to give such notice. The next session, which marks the beginning of the parliamentary year, begins next month but at least at press time, MPs had not received letters inviting them to write in motions. Of course there is always the option of tabling the motion under a certificate of urgency which limits chances of the motion’s success because it circumvents the extensive but more desired lobbying of fellow MPs ÔÇô which leads to the second point. The mover of the motion will have to lobby for support, especially that of the opposition bench, whose vote could decide which side wins. Historically, opposition MPs have unfailingly supported motions from within the opposition bench. In the last session, Boko’s motion didn’t get such support because he never lobbied for support before he tabled the motion. The result was that the Alliance for Progressives, which is also not part of the opposition collective (Umbrella for Democratic Change) that Boko is leader of, didn’t support the motion. However, there is a paradox because a lobbying campaign will definitely trigger a counter-campaign.

Boko’s rumoured association with Khama will not do him any good if he retables the motion. In the past he has portrayed himself as an anti-corruption champion, describing a programme (the economic stimulus programme) that Khama implemented in 2015 as an elaborate ploy to “loot” state coffers. He also vowed to imprison Khama for corruption when he becomes president. While the Masisi-Khama feud has been publicly portrayed in the context of ceaseless feuds over use of state resources, that is not what the two men are feuding over. The real issue is what will happen to Khama if Masisi wins the 2019 general election. Behind the scenes, the president is said to have launched a vigorous anti-corruption campaign even against some cabinet ministers. Khama, whose rule was marked by unprecedented levels of rampant corruption, is certainly next and is doing all he can to prevent the likelihood of prosecution that could send him to prison. One way to prevent that from happening is using parliamentary processes to oust Masisi.  

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper

Sunday Standard August 9 – 15

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of August 9 - 15, 2020.