THE OBSERVER: My Advice to His Honour Mokgweetsi Masisi

SHARE   |   Monday, 01 February 2016   |   By Simon Gabathuse
THE OBSERVER: My Advice to His Honour Mokgweetsi Masisi

You have indeed taken your rightful position of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) as the party chairman. You have in the process opened yourself to vulnerability and a clear show of lack of tact. It is in that same process that you have attracted keen interest. And the little I have seen tells me that this is just the beginning of a long challenging journey. There is a need to go human on you and provide guidance and hence my 10 points of advice to you:

1. Economic Stimulus Package
Is President Ian Khama Seretse Khama handing you over on a silver platter the coordination and management of the ESP because he knows it will uplift your public ratings or is he giving you the last opportunity to prove your mettle before he decides your final fate? This is a very important matter to scrutinise alone in your God given space so that you are aware of both the national expectations, expectations of the BDP and expectations of the General Khama the president. Jumping into the ESP as a coordinator who has no clear idea of what the ESP is will essentially mean failure to coordinate it. Is this an economic programme or a political instrument? You need to know that, don’t assume!

2. Transitional President in Waiting
There is a school of thought that you are just holding fort for Tshekedi Khama to take over as both President of the BDP and as state president of the country. What keeps this school of thought that yours is just a transitional era? This school of thought cannot be summarily dismissed as it carries with it some sense of reasonableness that your popularity does not go beyond your constituency. Perhaps you might want to look into that and grow your political base much more aggressively. 

3. Botswana Movement for Democracy
The truth is that President Khama found the BDP with better public ratings; he found it without a splinter party that is the Botswana Movement for Democracy and that has come to haunt not only him but the party as a whole. He will want to leave the BDP not simply united for the current moment but to have a capacity and potential to grow for the future. The BMD shall be forever your nightmare if you simply wish it away. You cannot manage that; you need to address it with a concrete plan. At the moment you are failing in that and they are enjoying every moment of it. They are out smarting you!

4. Create a notch
The former Vice President of Botswana, the late General Mompati Merafhe (May His Soul Rest in Peace) has done you no favours by being exceptional in leadership qualities and amassing such great wisdom which gave him admiration beyond measure. You are having a difficulty because you are expected to fill in the shoes of not only a political legendary but arguably the most exceptional diplomat and orator the country has ever possessed since independence. He was not only a soldier but further a General who knew; how, when and who to fight. These attributes are needed and very defining in politics. You need to create a clear notch away from simply reacting to issues in the debating grounds but being able to say something new. 

5. Social Sites
The social sites such as Facebook and twitter have taken over as the trusted source of ‘breaking news’ to the contemporary youth. And yet being on them too much is somehow viewed as being too much youthful to be considered a ‘real’ politician’ and thus they are giving too much of a mixed signal. It could be wise to allow some youngster to manage your pages so that you focus on the elderly. Hence a need to allow the party young ones to take over the management of the youth vote and you concentrate on the elderly.

6. Your Personal Pockets
You appear not to have known prominent business people to your side. You need them, it’s not a question of whether you want them or you do not, it is a question of the BDP needing you to get closer to them for its benefit and so that it entrust you with loyalty to run it as a party and ultimately run the government. UDC is covering too much space on this part, you are too way behind.

7. Barata Phathi
You need supporters more than ever before and you need to be sure as to whom between the Third Force, A-Team and Barata Phathi is actually with you. In politics you can just pretend to be in between, you need to take a side to ensure self-conviction which will in turn yield confidence on your people. It has become very clear that the A-Team faction has lost a sizeable number of its people to the Third Force. Some of those who are not happy about the current A-Team composition have aligned themselves with Barata Phathi. In this whole re-arrangement of the BDP you must observe that Barata Phathi have not lost sympathisers to either Third Force or A-Team but had rather grown and is taking shape and control of the party. Get into good relations with them, you need Barata Phathi for your survival!

8. The Rural Vote
You are still letting President Khama to own that chunk of the population which by the way returned the BDP to Government over the years. What is declining is not the elderly vote but rather the youth vote. UDC has unleashed the youth to handle the minds of the youth and allowing thus the elderly to traverse the country to manage the rural dweller. You need to take over the management of the rural dweller from President Khama. This is where you can hurt UDC the most!

9. Trade Unions
You have an opportunity to address the plight of the workers now. At times it is not even salary increment they are after but a continuous engagement and mature reaction to their anger on various issues. A need to belong and a need to be a part of. They have been trying to topple you at every given opportunity and they have failed at that. They have failed to topple you as MP and failed to de-campaign you for the chairmanship of the ruling party. But trust me, you don’t want to spend the rest of your state house waiting days watching over your shoulder, worried about what the unions are planning for you. You have more internal battles to be fighting for.  

10. Botsalo Ntuane
You don’t want to find yourself having to battle it out with a strategist and young appealing person in Botsalo Ntuane. Whatever it is that is going on between the two of you; just mend relations. Your tone and use of language says a lot about you as a man troubled by the internal rifts with the party. You seem to be communicating that there is a plot to topple you. It is possible that your immunity ends with President Khama’s departure at the end of his term. You can’t fight a whole Secretary General, he will make your rule ungovernable. You just have to remember that Festus Mogae was forced to return Dr. Ponatshego Kedikilwe and the mighty Daniel Kwelagobe to cabinet after they rendered his rule extremely difficult. Sad enough for you, you need Botsalo; he doesn’t need you!