Botswana welcomes 5th President

28th March 2018


By Sun Reporter - Reporter

April 1st 2018 goes into the annals of the country’s history as the day we ushered in the 5th President of the republic since Independence in 1966. It’s a significant milestone for our democracy, its flaws notwithstanding. Indeed, democracy is a work in progress. It must respond in every epoch to the needs of the people and their circumstantial peculiarities. Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi, an educationist with a distinguished career as a teacher and curriculum development advisor, ascends to the highest office to succeed BaNgwato Kgosikgolo, Lt. Gen. Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, son of the country’s founding president and father of the nation, the late Sir Seretse Khama. This ascension, truth be told, has nothing to do with the will of the people, but is a constitutional convenience under ‘automatic succession’ which not only entrenches the ruling party’s incumbency but also perpetuates its rule.

This provision has benefitted Masisi’s predecessors to the obvious chagrin of opposition parties, who, in the absence of an election, feel deprived. Be that as it may, until opposition parties can raise the required majority to change government under this first past the post Westminster parliamentary democracy, the status quo will remain as is. President-elect Masisi ascends the lofty presidential office on a holy day, Easter Sunday. Days prior to his inauguration he’s visited the Church to make his supplications and seek God’s guidance in the momentous journey he’s undertaking.

The Presidency is indeed an arduous and demanding job, we the public as well do wish him Godspeed in his task. Masisi has one year and six months in which to try to impress the nation and give us a sense of his roadmap. His real test will come in October 2019 when the country goes for its general election, but in the interim, we don’t expect him to rock the boat drastically. Instead, we expect him to complete President Khama’s programmes and projects. President Masisi will, like Khama, need the Wisdom that guided his predecessors – Masire, Mogae and Khama to navigate the countless pitfalls that litter the path to Life, to wit, arrogance; high handedness and indifference to the will of the people. But if he humbles himself to the people, who are his masters, then shall he be well disposed to see clearly their needs and in turn deploy the State machinery to act on these needs.

Masisi’s leadership style will come under trial during this transition to the general election, considering that he presides over a party torn by factional interests. But, The Sun says, the President can muster the perils of this storm season if only he defers to one and all. President Masisi must extend a hand of brotherhood to MP for Selibe Phikwe West, Nonofo Molefhi, who had challenged him and lost in the party’s race for chairmanship. This is a time for building and consolidating. But even as we await his full roadmap, we in the Fourth Estate also appeal to him to build bridges with us, ever aware of the central role that we play as the nation’s watchdog and disseminators of information. The Sun says the first test of President Masisi’s relations with the Media and other Civil Society organisations such as Workers Unions and NGOs or Non-State Actors, will be how he deals with the pernicious ‘Advertising Ban’ imposed on the Private Media particularly by his predecessor. We welcome you Mr President and our First Lady, Mma Atsile and your lovely daughter, Atsile to the State House.

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