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BDP Chief Whip cautions Masisi against ‘alleged’ purge

Publishing Date : 13 March, 2018


Controversial Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Chief Whip Liakat Kablay has cautioned the Vice President Mogweetsi Masisi against purging dissenting voices within the party when he takes power in three months.

Masisi is expected to assume the reigns of authority as president on April 1st as per automatic succession. Already there is strong speculation that Masisi may starve some party members ministerial positions who challenged him for chairmanship at the hotly contested Tonota Congress last year. 

At the congress Masisi defeated Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Development Nonofo Molefhi by 769 votes against 261 to win the party Chairmanship. Masisi’s lobby lists triumphed in all the positions. Candidates who supported Molefhi lobby list included Minister of Health and Wellness Dorcas Makgatho, her Assistant Minister Phillip Makgalemele, Assistant Minister of Basic Education Master Goya, Assistant Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Biggie Butale as well as Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services Prince Maele.

“As a Chief Whip, I would like to caution Masisi not to sideline anyone on account that they didn’t lend him support at the do-or-die Tonota Congress last year, as it was their democratic right to stand for elections. And in any elections there are winners and losers. And losers should not be seen to be purged,” Kablay told Weekend Post this week.

According to Kablay, by not dropping his dissidents from cabinet, the VP will help the party regain the desperately needed stability in the party as they face a growingly competitive opposition from a united front in the form of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) as well as newly formed Alliance for Progressives (AP). The maverick parliamentarian believes that the BDP needs stability as a ruling party more than the opposition because it is running the affairs of the country.

Kablay emphasised: “he should just leave them. If he drops them, they might question the motive and assume that it is executed to deliberately eliminate them as they belonged to another lobby list at Tonota congress.” He explained this bearing in mind that when the Moshupa/ Manyana legislator becomes president he will automatically reshuffle cabinet and choose a Vice President whom will later be endorsed by parliament.

He continued: “there is currently a lot of backbiting in the party, party members’ gossip; it’s tough as every MP wants to be a Minister. Rona boKablay re tlaa bo bona kae tota (It appears am not in the league of being a minister so am not bothered).

According to the Lephepe/Letlhakane lawmaker, the development may give birth to new factions in which if they also go to lose Primary elections (Bulela Ditswe) it will be detrimental to the party as they might vote with the opposition in the impending 2019 elections. The Tonota Congress win by Masisi, Kablay said, demonstrated how strong Masisi is in the party and that the party members surely want him to lead.

“I believe even at the Special Congress for president this year he will still sail through and if anyone dares tries to challenge him he will be humiliated. Masisi ke letlapa o ikadile (Masisi is very tough),” he asserted to this publication. On choosing the next Vice President, Kablay highlighted that Masisi must be careful on who he chooses. “We don’t want to see him choose someone who will tomorrow differ with him claiming to be smarter than him or probably even want to dispose him of presidency,” he cautioned.

Meanwhile some of the names being dropped for the VP position include that of Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Slumber Tsogwane, Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs Edwin Batshu as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Venson Moitoi whom although she has stated she will not stand in the next elections. “For the fact that current President Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama vehemently supports Masisi and wholly trusts him, Batswana also as they love and believe in Khama will follow suit (in supporting Masisi),” the BDP Chief Whip maintained.



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