On the 1st of April 2018 His Excellency Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi was sworn in as the 5th President of the Republic of Botswana.
Prior to this, he was Botswana’s 8th Vice President, having also served in various Cabinet portfolios. Before becoming a full time politician he had established himself as an educationist.
President Masisi was born in Moshupa on 21st July 1962. He grew up in a household with seven siblings being the fifth son to the late Edison Setlhomo Masisi, who served for many decades as a Cabinet Minister and Member of Parliament for Moshupa (1965-99) and Mrs. Precious Masego Masisi.
After attending school at Thornhill and Maru-a-Pula, President Masisi went on to complete his studies at the University of Botswana, where he trained as a teacher majoring in English and History attaining a Diploma in Secondary Education.
Thereafter, from 1984 he taught at Mmanaana Secondary School in Moshupa, where he was also active in community development initiatives through the Village Extension Team. He was involved in sports, fund raising for development and the PTA
In 1987 he became Social Studies Curriculum Specialist at the Department of Curriculum Development and Evaluation, where he was responsible for supervising Social Studies, Music and Religious and Moral Education.
In 1989 he studied at graduate level at Florida State University, USA, specializing in Social Studies Education and Instructional Systems Design. He attained his MSc from FSU in 1990.
In 1990 he re-joined Curriculum Development as the National Coordinator for Social Studies Education and Botswana’s representative for the African Social and Environmental Studies Programme, also serving as a Board member for Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa. During this time he played a leading role in the development of a new assessment system of Criterion Referenced Testing.
President Masisi has also been an active member of several NGO Boards, including Kalahari Conservation Society and Bana Ba Metsi Trust.
In 1995 Masisi joined UNICEF as Education Project Officer, where he was responsible for initiating policy and program reforms for the excluded in Botswana. In Botswana these included developing and implementing education for children of Remote Area Dwellers, focusing on access, retention and improved performance and pregnant students Continuing Education (Diphalana Programme). He was part of a team of experts contributing to educational development in Eastern and Southern Africa for UNICEF.
In 1999 he was awarded a Commonwealth Chevening Scholarship to undertake graduate studies in Economics and Social Policy in Manchester University in the UK.
In 2003 he resigned from UNICEF to join politics, contesting unsuccessfully for the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) primaries in the Moshupa Constituency. He remained active in politics and was elected Deputy Secretary of the Moshupa Branch Committee.
In 2004 Masisi joined an International Research NGO (CIET) and focused on HIV Prevention research. This job involved working and studying epidemiology.
In 2008 he won the BDP Primary Elections and became the party’s Parliamentary candidate for Moshupa and subsequently secured it in the October 2009 general elections.
In October 2009 he was appointed Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration at the State Presidency.
In January 2011 he was appointed Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration. He oversaw Poverty Eradication Programme and the expansion of broadcasting capacity by BTV and Radio Botswana.
He also conceptualized and started the Moshupa Constituency Development Show as well as the roll out and free distribution of seedlings to the whole Constituency and other community initiatives to improve peoples’ lives. Initiated partnerships for continuing education, economic groups etc.
In April 2014 he was appointed Acting Minister at the Ministry of Education and Skills Development.
In October 2014, he was re-elected Member of Parliament for Moshupa-Manyana Constituency and thereafter, appointed the Minister of Education and Skills Development, October 28th 2014.
On November 12th 2014, Masisi was endorsed as the 8th Vice President of the Republic of Botswana. Responsible for the oversight of Government programmes including flagship programmes, including: Poverty Eradication, Economic Diversification Drive and Employment Creation. Chairperson of the: National Aids Council, Rural Development Council and is also the Leader of the House of the National Assembly.
H.E. the President is married to Neo Jane Masisi (nee Maswabi). Their marriage has been blessed with a daughter.
Photo: His Excellency President Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi and First Lady Neo Jane Masisi.