The succession plan within the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is said to be rearing its ugly head forcing Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi to tighten security around him. Highly placed sources within the ruling party and at Government Enclave have revealed when Masisi was nominated and appointed VP in 2014 many within the party who harboured presidential ambitions thought he won’t last due to his health concerns. The succession race is said to be very dirty with some hell-bent on ensuring that they cut short Masisi’s walk to the State House 1. During the State of the Nation Address (SONA) President Ian Khama informed the nation that Masisi will succeed him becoming the fifth president of Botswana. The nomination and endorsement of Masisi as the second citizen has not been welcomed by some within the ruling party, including some cabinet ministers. Some politicians within the party have vowed to challenge him for the party presidency at the BDP congress in 2019. His recent big win of the party chairperson seat over Minister Nonofho Molefhi is said to have unsettled his detractors who now want to use unconventional ways to topple him. Those in Masisi’s inner circle confided to this publication that every measure has been taken by his family and allies to scale up his security, deploying even private intelligence officers to monitor his situation. According to sources, Masisi now ensures he has a trusted relative among the security personnel provided by government. Well-placed sources have revealed that the VP who is close to the Director General of Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) Isaac Kgosi now has coteries of security intelligence providing security on top of personnel assigned by government. Though it is not clear whether his brother - Brigadier Thulaganyo Masisi – is involved, a reliable source revealed that it cannot be ruled out. Retired Brigadier Masisi led BDF contingent to Lesotho on a peace keeping mission known as “Operation Boleas”. He was also part of the peace keeping mission in Somalia in 2002. He attended Monday’s SONA and was seen greeting and chatting with the BDF Commander Lieutenant General Placid Segokgo. During the SONA one former army intelligence officer was seen hovering around keeping a close eye on Masisi – a move seen to ensure he didn’t take any food or drinks.
Intelligence information gathered has revealed that there have been attempts on the life of Masisi through food poisoning on several occasions with the other landing him at a hospital in South Africa. He was airlifted to Morningside clinic in South Africa where he spent more than two weeks in hospital. “You see it was going to be easy to say that the VP passed on due to ill-health as it is in the public domain that he has some health issues before,” revealed an intelligence officer.A month earlier, Botswana Defence Force aircraft CASA 21-300 (OJ2) that was supposed to transport Masisi crashed near ThebePhatshwa Air Base shortly after taking off resulting in three fatalities. He had been using the aircraft on several of his official duties. In June 2017 between Kopong and Metsimotlhabe he was involved in a car accident in which his official car was hit from behind by a corolla at midnight. He escaped uninjured. Those within his inner circle fear that factional and succession wars might be at the heart of the calamities besieging the incoming president, hence need to beef up his security. In 2015 when he announced that his ambition to become the party chairman at the Mmadinare Elective Congress, for the first time in the history of the BDP more than five candidates showed interest. Though he has shown that he is popular among the democrats as shown at the Tonota congress, they are still some who doubt his capabilities in leading the country.