On Friday, November 1, Batswana were glued to tv screens up and down the country as the 5th President of The Republic of Botswana was sworn into office. President Dr MEK Masisi, a leader of many firsts, made history as he became the first-ever president to be inaugurated at the University of Botswana Indoor Sports Arena.
The auspicious event, traditionally held at Botswana’s parliament, was on Friday opened to the general public to come and witness as their 5th President was sworn into office.
His Excellency Dr Mokgweetsi E. K Masisi took his Presidential Oath in both Setswana and English, yet another first.
The inauguration was also live-streamed on digital platforms across 54 public locations across Botswana. The Office of the President assigned Botswana Fibre Networks to coordinate wide publicity and connectivity by streaming the event in various locations across the country including lodge gardens, community centres, Kgotlas, sports centres and post offices.
Following his swearing-in as the 5th President of the Republic of Botswana, Dr. Masisi inspected the Guard of Honour mounted by members of the Botswana Defense Force. The President went on to address the nation, thanking them for their vote of confidence and promising to lead the country without fear or favour.
The nation was treated to live entertainment by several poets in both English & Setswana, a choir from President Masisi’s home village Moshupa, a live band and dancers who showcased Botswana’s different tribes and cultures.
Various Heads of States and foreign dignitaries including Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zambian President Edgar Lungu and Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique graced the event to show support and solidarity with Botswana.
Also in attendance was the former President of the Republic of Botswana, Dr Festus Mogae, various members of parliament (both past and present), the Chief Justice and various senior government officials. Botswana’s Chief Justice, Terrence Rannowane swore in the new President before the nation.
Most notably, while the opposition was represented by the Umbrella UDC Vice President, Dumelang Saleshando and AP leader Ndaba Gaolathe. BPF patron and former President, Ian Khama, the BPF President, Biggie Butale and UDC President, Duma Boko chose to stay away from the ceremony. It was perhaps to be expected as the trio went on record since the elections, to dismiss the results with claims of rigging. BPF President Biggie Butale on Thursday addressed a press conference at which he asserted the huge margins with which the BDP won are historic and nothing short of miraculous.
Meantime, the Sunday Standard quoted BPF spokesperson, Joseph Motlhabani, confirming that BPF and its patron, Ian Khama would not be attending the inauguration ceremony:
“The BPF and its patron former president Khama will not be attending the event as we believe grand election fraud took place in this election. We are also against the use of the BDF to mobilise people to attend as well as the extravagant nature of the event, which is not in line with our known modesty for all past presidential inaugurations.
We are also against aggressive efforts being put into trying to get people to attend the inauguration never before done, to give the impression of a popular president for the benefit of visitors, hence the use of the BDF to try to draw people and live screening.” Joseph Motlhabani BPF Spokesperson.
In stark contrast with global reports of a “smooth transition of power” from Khama to Masisi, since Masisi took over last April, the two have since been at loggerheads, with the former accusing Masisi of straying away from his policies.
President Masisi vows in his inaugural speech to fight corruption
Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Friday pledged to fight corruption by promoting transparency in the southern African country’s institutional frameworks. Botswana inaugurated Masisi for the second time exactly 18 months after the October 23 general election that saw the ruling party, the BDP emerge victorious.
The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) won the October 23 poll after garnering 38 seats in the national assembly, representing 66.7 percent of the vote. The main opposition, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), secured 15 seats while the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), Ian Khama’s brainchild, won three and the Alliance for Progressive (AP) only one.
“We cannot hope for neither service delivery nor achieve any of our national objectives if our institutional frameworks are not robust, transparent, and accountable and free from corruption,” said Masisi in his inauguration speech, following his swearing-in by the country’s chief justice in Gaborone, Botswana’s capital city.
The 58-year-old leader, who has been speaking against corruption since taking over from his predecessor, former President Seretse Khama Ian Khama last April, told the inauguration gathering that included foreign heads of states and members of the diplomatic corps, that he intends is to remain resolute and relentless in tackling corruption.
“Therefore, I wish to emphasise that my government will put in place measures and mechanisms through the application of best practices of good governance to ensure that corruption is defeated,” he pledged.
In August, Botswana’s national assembly passed the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Bill into law, a development viewed by many political commentators as a giant step towards dealing with corruption. To operationalise this law, Masisi said his government is in the process of establishing an ethics and integrity directorate.
President Masisi said on Friday that the long-peaceful southern African nation continues to face the challenges of HIV/AIDS, unemployment, corruption and now, the effects of climate change. He said it’s imperative for Botswana to shift the economy away from its over-reliance on natural resources such as diamonds.
Free Wi-Fi was provided to allow attendants to send and share pictures and videos of the events with others. Snacks were also be provided across the venues. Additionally, BoFiNet streamed live feed for free for all device users in Botswana Hotspots in over 60 venues. Mascom, a partner sponsor, also streamed the event for free to all its 3G and 4G customers.
HUB TV, a partner youth Combi TV, streamed in 30 Gaborone combis and live on Facebook. At the scene of the event in Gaborone, the UB Indoor Arena, there were be five digital screens to ensure nobody missed a thing.
Once again, we congratulate HE Dr MEK Masisi on his landslide victory and wish him well as he endeavours to set Botswana on the path to prosperity and root out the corruption that now threatens to destroy Botswana.
Source: Botswana Television, BWGovernment FB page, SundayStandard Facebook page