A group of four Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) veterans; Daniel Kwelagobe, Charles Tibone, Satar Dada and Joseph Legwaila have emerged as power brokers in a move aimed at persuading former President Lt Gen Ian Khama to return to the ruling party.
According impeccable sources, the talks between the former President and the party stalwarts began three months ago, after party elders agreed amicably that the first reconciliation talks that were conducted by former President Festus Mogae, David Magang, Ray Molomo and Patrick Balopi collapsed — with no prospects of resuscitation. WeekendPost understands that the four BDP stalwarts have confided to Khama that they have not been sent by anyone but acting on their personal capacity as party elders.
“They are very much determined to see Khama abandon the newly formed Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and retracing his steps to the ailing BDP,” a source said. Khama had in previous talks told them [party elders] that there is little that they can do, as he insisted that he preferred to meet President Masisi face-to-face to resolve the current stand-off. Masisi however rejected Khama’s proposal, maintaining that the two of them meet in the presence of party elders.
The deadlock have seen concerned party stalwarts initiating another talks to coax Khama to extend an olive branch to his successor. The talks are spearheaded by the party’s favourite son Kwelagobe. DK, as popularly known in the party spent 27 years as secretary general, and has served under four presidents. Kwelagobe and Khama, served for nearly 20 years together in the party Central Committee. The delegation also has BDP longest serving Central Committee member and Treasurer, Dada. Dada who has been BDP treasurer since 1995 is considered Khama’s close ally.
Adding to the delegation is leading businessman and former minister, Charles Tibone as well as Botswana's former ambassador to the United Nations (UN) and career Diplomat Joseph Manson Legwaila. This publication can confidently reveal that the four staunch members of the ruling party have been involved in talks with Khama for over three months. Tibone is however cagey, and has denied his involvement in reconciling former President Khama and his Masisi but has admitted to meeting the duo on different occasions.
“I personally do meet both leaders from time-to-time where we engage on various issues. They are both our leaders, why shouldn’t we relate and engage them,” Tibone told Weekend Post. The former Tati West legislator said he also met with both Dada and Kwelagobe because they are BDP veterans and they have also engaged on various topics. Tibone said recently Kwelagobe has been unwell and they met several times owing to his health and that that should not be viewed as an issue.
The BDP veteran said his wish is to see a positive solution to both leaders since the stand-off has the potential to harm the country’s economy, the political landscape as well as the country’s future. “If there is a solution, it would be best for the country,” said Charles Tibone. President Khama, when reached for comment, said he could not rule out the possibility of returning back to the BDP one day.Khama confirmed meeting Dada, Tibone, Legwaila and Kwelagobe several times over the past three months.
“We had discussion kind of where they still insists I should come back and re-unite with the party. I think they are concerned about the outcome of the general elections,” said Khama. According to him, this is still work in progress and he will continue to engage them further. Even though he hints at the possibility of coming back, Khama said that will not happen now while some within the party continue to insult him and his family. The former President said he however could not share the contents of the meetings implying that it is confidential. Khama maintained that the four elders cannot assure him of anything and insists that Masisi is the only one who can guarantee his return to BDP.
As the nation awaits President Mokgweetsi Masisi to announce the writ of the general elections which are expected in October this year, the BDP is reportedly pressing on panic buttons as their members are torn between their party and BPF which Khama is its patron. For the first time since Khama left BDP and joined opposition, President Masisi who is also party President announced at rally in Gaborone last week that BDP wants former President Khama back in the BDP fold.
Khama left the BDP unceremoniously few months back and later formed the BPF. Many of his loyalists within the ruling BDP left the party and followed him to the new party, and it is feared that his departure may result in BDP losing electoral support in the Central District, the party’s traditional stronghold where it is Khama’s sphere of influence. Khama and Masisi’s relationship broke down tremendously few months after Masisi took charge in a move which was observed by many as betraying his own master in Ian Khama.
The two men were involved in a number of public spats where they did not spare the rod for each other. Khama has now been going around the country and amassing support for his BPF and opposition in some instances. The BDP is now afraid of voter splitting that might give the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) an opportunity to romp to victory for the first time since 1965.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.