Botswana: 'We Made a Mistake'

President Mokgweetsi Masisi and former President Ian Khama.

Gaborone — The President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, used the press briefing he addressed in Gaborone on June 7, to reflect on his deteriorating relationship with his predecessor, Lt Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama.

President Masisi expressed regret on the decisions made pertaining to the 2017 amendment of President Pensions and Retirement Act.

"We made a big mistake and I will be the first to admit it, because if we had not amended this act, we would be in a position to suspend former President Khama's benefits for engaging in active politics again because he has essentially retired," President Masisi said.

He was referring to the amendment of Former Presidents' Pensions and Retirement Act, which deleted section 6(2) of the President's Act that made provision for the suspension of the pension and benefits of a former president who either directly or indirectly held any paid office whether in the public or private sector.

"Man, did we make a mistake," he said. "Promises were made and assurances given that once he vacated office, he will always support government, that he will never destabilise government but now, a total somersault!" President Masisi added.

President Masisi admitted that he was the leader of the house in 2017 when the amendment was made and not only did he champion it, he defended it against criticism from opposition parties.

"I take my hat out to the opposition and I owe them an apology. We were misled and made to believe things that were not true," he said, adding that "it is sad but we will tell you the truth as it is, go find for yourself on the Hansard because we refused to believe that this could ever happen in Botswana."

President Masisi, however, urged the media to desist from trivialising the ongoing impasse highlighting that this was not a personal, but a national issue with far reaching implications.

President Masisi also stated that he had no intentions to counter-sue Lt Gen. Khama given that the latter had expressed desire to sue government and some high ranking government officials.

"Being a politician, it is almost conceivable that if I wanted to, I would be suing everybody but it is not my intention to do so," he said, admitting that if his government was in the wrong, they would accept responsibility and pay up if found guilty by the courts.

Source : BOPA

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