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Masisi successors emerge

Publishing Date : 21 February, 2018


The race to succeed Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi has already begun. Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) activists based at Moshupa/Manyana constituency are on track to come into sight in a bid to succeed area MP, Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

The constituency is expected to go for a bye election next year subsequent to Masisi’s elevation to the highest office of the presidency, as prescribed by the system of automatic succession. Masisi will assume the presidency in seven months time on 1 April 2018. In the last elections Masisi representing BDP triumphed by a convincing 6831 lead against Ngaka Monageng of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) who got 3231 votes while Benny Stegling of Botswana Congress Party (BCP) got 2557.

Moshupa also has 8 wards which are all in the hands of the ruling BDP except one which was won through a by election by opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) being Moshupa West. Other wards include Lotlhakane West, Manyana/Mogonye, Moshupa East, Moshupa North, Moshupa South, Pitseng and Ralekgetho. With a few months before the BDP Chairman Masisi becomes president, already there are talks of possible candidates for Moshupa/Manyana to represent the party at the area and possibly succeed Masisi in the constituency.

BDP sources that spoke to WeekendPost hinted that a rising BDP luminary in the name of Karabo Gare who is little known in national politics although active in the area seems all set to contest for the vacancy. They point that all stakes are high for the Young Turk who it is said has worked tirelessly for the party in the area signalling his intentions to fill the shoes of the Vice President in future if it opens up.“As Masisi rises to the presidenc, chances are he will bring along him his trusted lieutenant, Karabo Gare to occupy his seat as a representative of our constituency,” a source in the area closer to the developments told this publication.

According to the source, it is clear Gare will contest the party primaries and sail through as he has enough support on the ground and closer to VP Masisi. Another source who spoke to WeekendPost hinted that Gare may triumph as he has done a lot for the constituency even under the leadership of Masisi. However, when contacted for a comment, Gare was cagey with confirming his intentions despite allegations in the area of his imminent contestation instead saying he will announce the news at the “right time”.

“I can confirm that should constituents find the need to send me to parliament to represent them at the bye election expected for next year, I can avail myself,” he told WeekendPost in an exclusive interview. He insisted that “I am more than ready; I am more than ready to take up the assignment.” Sensing that he may be misconstrued on the matter, he emphasised that he can only make the decision “when the VP steps out from the role of the Member of Parliament (MP).” Although he is seen as Masisi’s blue eyed boy, and seemed to be concealing some more information during the interview; Gare said his relationship with the VP is ordinary against what some constituents’ sentiments on the ground.

“I don’t think Masisi will have a preferred candidate, even I,” he explained. “Yes he is my elder, we have a good relationship with the VP but it is not exceptional or distinct from the others. He treats us fairly and takes us as equals. So I don’t think he can take sides with anyone. As I know him, he would want the constituents to take an informed decision for them as to whom they want as their next representative, he won’t disadvantage anyone in my judgement. In fact I believe he is more of a unifier,” Gare asserted.

After his praises on Masisi, Gare took a shot to the opposition saying although their presence is felt on the ground, but are not viable. “First of all generally I don’t think UDC structure is viable. Otherwise there would be no individual parties under UDC,” he pointed out. According to Gare, any government needs a stronger opposition to keep them accountable. “But I feel although we need a strong opposition, opposition UDC is united but again not united. We need a credible opposition at the moment. I don’t undermine them but again I don’t think their project is viable.”

He added that in politics you can only be confident but not complacent nonetheless. He further highlighted that “I believe we will retain Moshupa/Manyana constituency with the same margin as previously if not better. People on the ground inform me that we are still strong.” Previously, Gare worked at Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) as a Business Advisor. While at LEA, he assisted Moshupa constituents for free, while also taking people through entrepreneurship awareness workshops.

In football, he also played as role of Chairman for local team Kgabosetso which was subsequently elevated to First Division owing to his shrewd leadership. Prior, he also occupied the position of Accountant Officer at Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) and later serving at Botswana railways as Senior Accounts and Administration Officer before joining LEA.

The party is expected to invite candidates in whom other hopefuls will emerge, to lock horns for representing the party at primary elections upon an opening of the vacancy next year in line with the party constitution, tradition and procedure. BDP Branch Chairman in the constituency, Bushi Tshiping, told WeekendPost in a separate interview that upon Masisi’s succession to the presidency, “the party constitution and procedure will be followed accordingly” to fill the shoes of Masisi in the area.



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