President Mokgweetsi Masisi says he is not intimidated by his predecessor, Ian Khama’s use of strong words that suggest that the country’s reputation will experience a ‘crash landing’ in the eyes of the international community.
Masisi’s remarks on Tuesday followed Khama’s media briefing a day earlier at Maharaj Conference Centre where he updated journalists on the recent incarceration of Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) agent, Wilheminah Mphoeng Maswabi where he was implicated, together with former spy chief, Isaac Kgosi and South African businesswoman Bridget Motsepe-Radebe.
In his thinly veiled attack, Khama accused Masisi and his government of bringing disrepute to the country’s image and noted that when the truth comes out the country’s reputation will experience a ‘crash landing’.
When addressing the media following his Kenya trip on Tuesday, Masisi said from where he stands, he sits comfortably in the full knowledge and out of complete confidence in Botswana’s justice system that finally the truth will emerge.
Masisi said anybody who feels injured by the process and allegations, is free to approach the courts of law and seek redress.
He said as head of state he has a job to do and that he intends to do it to the best of his ability.
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Masisi added that having difference of ideas with his former boss does not necessarily have to result in a court case or investigations.
The President noted that everyone is entitled to their views and that there is nothing he can do when an investigation takes a particular direction as his interference will mean poor judgement and governance.
“Every citizen in this country is perceived to be innocent until proven guilty. It is true that the issues that have come before us have dented our image. Should we because we are afraid our image will be dented sweep those cases under the carpet? Tell me what kind of society we would create if we did that. Botswana has not changed even a bit and we are where we are because we chose to be where we are,” said Masisi.
Responding to the court petitions against the ruling party on alleged elections rigging the President said the matter was serious and that he intended to apply his mind to it, which is why he was planning to meet his cabinet to get full advice.
He said what is at test was the integrity of their governance and not just him and Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
Masisi noted that the recent elections were not only conducted on the basis of the Electoral Act, but also requirements of the constitution that have always been used and said people must ask yourselves why this time.
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“Where are we getting ridiculous incredibleness of questioning the legitimacy of our electoral law which has not been altered since the last elections? We had actually put a law in place which would have allowed the use of electronic voting machine to vote and the very same protagonists challenged it. Isn’t it curious that you also need to travel to a neighbouring country with whom we have diplomatic relations and you seek to stir and want to cause instability on the basis of imaginations? You must ask yourselves what the motives of these other citizens are. I have decided over time to remain quiet and ignore a lot of abuse. The time I respond, I will respond so fully and you won’t ask what I said. They will never try again, ask them to keep quiet, their time has passed,” he quipped.