Former President Lt Gen Ian Khama is on the verge of quitting the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), with several close associates indicating that it is only a matter of time that his best kept secret becomes public.
Khama’s walk out from the BDP—the party which his father Sir Seretse Khama helped found in 1961— follows a series of battles with his successor, Mokgweetsi Masisi. “As the mighty BDP hosts its Manifesto launch on Saturday (today) at the University of Botswana Sports Arena, Khama who confirmed his attendance could be donning the party colours for the last time as the member of the party,” confirmed a highly placed source.
The aftermath of Kang Special Congress where his close friend, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi was challenging Masisi for party presidency is believed to have been the watershed moment. “The aftermath of Kang will continue to haunt the BDP, many people believe Venson-Moitoi was not fairly treated which led to her withdrawing from the race,” a source told WeekendPost.
Sources close to the developments say it remains to be seen if Khama who did not attend the Kang Special Congress on the 5th April this year—opting to play football at his retirement home in Mosu instead—will attend the event today at UB. They said if he do attend, that will be a historic event and needs to be captured because it could be the last time he attend a BDP event donning party colours as the member of the party in good standing.
It is reported that however he chose to remain mum on his political future despite compelling evidence linking him to a new party. “It is not clear whether he will join them or opposition but maybe he will choose to leave politics forever. He is of the view that he was pushed from the party he liked the most,” said a highly placed source. Ever since he ascended to presidency President Masisi has been at loggerheads with his predecessor, making his life even more difficult for Khama and reconciliation even impossible.
When asked about the possibility of leaving BDP, former President Ian Khama was reluctant to answer this reporter and later declined to comment on the matter. He however chose to accuse Masisi of further sinking the mighty BDP and eroding the renowned democracy that once prevailed amongst Batswana. Former President Khama who left office on 1st April 2018 gave the presidential button to Masisi, one of his trusted lieutenants then.
Prior to Khama’s departure, it was believed that Khama had chosen someone whom he will control after leaving office. However, the moment Khama left the office, Masisi emerged from the woods, proving to be his own man. Masisi has come had on key figures in Khama’s administration which he was part of, accusing them of corrupt practices and raiding on them. He launched an attack on Khama and his close associates, a move that saw the war between the two reaching the attention of the international media.
Khama who was viewed as a pillar in the Venson-Moitoi campaign leading to Kang said recent reports that he is now endorsing the opposition, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in particular, as baseless and misleading. He said Botswana is democratic country thus when he is invited by some members of the opposition to attend their events on his spare time he do attend. “This is not endorsement, it is not a crime to be amongst the opposition,” he said.
The former President said Masisi should be held accountable for the things he says but never delivers on his promises. He said after Kang he told democrats that he is now vying for unity in the party but nothing has been done so far. Immediately after what come out as a humiliation on Venson-Moitoi, he called her to his office to smoke a peace pipe but Venson-Moitoi would not take any of it after Masisi refused to drop charges on 30 councils who attended the infamous Serowe meeting.
Khama said so far they are still refusing him with air transport. He might not attend the 2019 instalment of Khawa Sand Dune Challenge which is his brainchild because they are refusing with an aircraft. He said so far they have declined seven (7) requests since the beginning of this year, saying it is disheartening. He said all the matters including a repayment for the India trip, charges laid against his security detail, and refusal to grant him air transport are being dealt by his lawyers Ramalepa Attorneys.
The two men never had a conversation in regard to the recent appalling state of the party. Ever since Khama left office, they only met face to face on two occasions, a move which shows their situation is serious. On several occasions party elders tried to convene in a reconciliation exercise but the talks collapsed because of the clash of egos and trust issues among the two men.
Khama is of the view that Masisi has always misled people telling them that he is looking forward to working with him but behind closed doors he continued to harass him and tried to make his life even more difficult. He said at some point he was more than willing to participate in the negotiations but the perpetuated harassment on him and his office proved that Masisi and his administration are not willing to stop the fight.
“Look right now you put someone like Bridgette Motsepe under Visa restriction because of her alliance to me. What does it say about the country, right now people are not happy in South Africa about that decision because people are blinded by me when they make decisions,” he said. Asked about her relation with Bridgette Motsepe, Khama said she is a longtime friend and only described her as a ‘very close friend’.
He also said he knew Malcom X by association with Motsepe but denied that he played a role in Venson-Moitoi’s campaign. “I only knew him by collateral damage with Bridgette Motsepe. The funny thing is there was no formal communication address to the duo and no reasons were ever advanced as to why they were put under visa restrictions.”
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katholo has revealed why he took a decision to engage private lawyers against the State. The DCEC boss engaged Monthe and Marumo Attorneys in his application to interdict the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing files and dockets in the custody of the corruption busting agency.
In his affidavit, Katholo says that by virtue of my appointment as the Director General of the DCEC, he is obliged to defend the administration and operational activities of the DCEC. He added that, “I have however been advised about a provision in the State Proceedings Act which grants the authority of public institution to undertake legal proceedings to the Attorney General.” Katholo contends that the provision is not absolute and the High Court may in the exercise of its original jurisdiction permit such, like in this circumstance authorise such proceedings to be instituted by the DCEC or its Director General.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has gone through transformation over the years, with new faces coming and going, but some figures have become part and parcel of the furniture at Tsholetsa House. From founding in 1962, BDP has seen five leaders changing the baton during the party’s 60 years of existence. The party has successfully contested 12 general elections, albeit the outcome of the last polls were disputed in court.
While party splits were not synonymous with the BDP for the better part of its existence, the party suffered two splits in the last 12 years; the first in 2010 when a Barataphathi faction broke ranks to found the now defunct Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). The Barataphathi faction was in the main protesting the ill-treatment of then recently elected party secretary general, Gomolemo Motswaledi, who had been suspended ostensibly for challenging the authority of then president, Ian Khama.
Mr Abdoola has known Mr. Uzair Razi for many years from the time he was a young boy. Uzair’s father, Mr Razi Ahmed, was the head of BCCI Bank in Botswana and “a very good man,” his close associates say.
Uzair and his wife went to settle in Dubai, the latter’s birthplace. He stayed in touch and was working for a real estate company owned by Mr. Sameer Lakhani. “Our understanding is that Uzair approached Mr. Abdoola to utilize their services for any property-related interests in Dubai. He did some work for Mr.Abdoola and others in the Botswana business community,” narrates a friend of Mr Abdoola.