Congratulations Mr President,Now The Work Begins

On Friday morning—after the astounding victory of his party the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in the 2019 general elections held last week —Mokgweetsi Erick Keabetswe Masisi was sworn in as the fifth president of the Republic of Botswana since independence in 1966.

Although Masisi's inauguration was undoubtedly the highlight of the day, in another part of the capital Gaborone—Butterfly—codename of the recently arrested and now popular former Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS), was grabbing her fair share of the headlines as she arrived in court as part of the proceedings of her case where she is accused by the state of amongst other things looting of billions of pula and financing terrorism.

Butterfly's case is an example of one of the foremost challenges that the incoming president Masisi will be looking to address as he resumes office so it was metaphorically fitting that her court appearance dented the festivities of his inauguration. Looting of public funds has been rife in the country since the dawn of the previous president Khama's administration, resulting in the loss of billions worth of public funds.

Fixing defunct basic and tertiary education systems is another one of the high priority issues that the president will be looking to address. The appalling state of most of the public primary and secondary schools, both infrastructure and results-wise, as well as the unemployability and hence sky-rocketing numbers of unemployment makes the education sector a weighty area of concern for the incoming president.

A highly undiversified economy is also one of the challenges that Masisi will be looking to focus on with the country currently relying too much on its natural resources especially diamonds, an industry which is also not diverse enough with most of its income being attained from the retailing of rough diamonds and virtually no diamond beneficiation drives being in place.

The tourism industry is another example of a resource that is a major contributor to the country's economy not being anywhere as efficient as it is should be. The sector is experiencing loss of huge amounts of revenue as a result of the leakages which have remained unaddressed throughout the previous administrations.

Lack of participation in the aforementioned industries is also another issue which the incoming president will be looking to address as promised in his party's manifesto, a situation which is further spurred on by the country's unfriendly entrepreneurial environment.

Apart from economic issues, the president will also be looking to address constitutional issues which include the unbalanced power of the three branches of government with the executive having an unfairly larger share of the pie as evidenced by its control of some departments like the DISS and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC),a situation which some critics say gives the Office of The President too much power and hence makes it harder to perform checks and balance on it as evidenced by the Butterfly case which is a result of lack of accountability in the DISS and some accusations aimed at the president for using the DCEC to advance his personal and political interests.

As president Masisi commences his term, it will be interesting to see how he will be going about in addressing the aforementioned burning issues as well as a host of other national issues. The people of Botswana have bestowed their trust in him and his abilities and whether he will translate his highly energized rally and manifesto promises to tangible results remains to be seen.