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Masisi, Guma freeze Tsogwane’s retirement plan

The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development and Member of Parliament for Boteti West Slumber Tsogwane has turned on his decision to retire at the end his current term in 2019.

This publication has been informed that the longest-serving elected legislator, styled Father of the House in parliament changed his mind after being coaxed by incoming President Mokgweetsi Masisi, and Samson Moyo Guma, a key member of Masisi’s team. “He has now abandoned plans to retire; he is contesting again in 2019. It was Guma [Moyo] who persuaded him to contest in 2019 for reasons that they themselves know,” an insider revealed.

Guma remains a king maker in the greater scheme of things — serving as one of Masisi’s trusted men. Since 2015, Guma has been at the forefront of the election machinery that has ensured that Masisi wins and retains the party chairmanship in 2015 and 2017 respectively.
“He is a strategist. Very effective and leads from the front. When he believes in a cause he goes all the way,” hinted one of Guma’s allies.

Tsogwane was scheduled to be succeeded by the youthful Bogolo Kenewendo at Boteti West. Kenewendo was serving as Trade Advisor to the Government of Ghana when she was called to take up the legislative post. This was subsequent to the amendment of the constitution by parliament increasing the number of specially elected MPs from four to six.  Kenewendo was sworn in along with former Jwaneng-Mabutsane legislator, Mephato Reatile

 Although Tsogwane’s impending retirement was known, Tsogwane had for sometime declined to shed light on his anticipated departure as he noted that only time will reveal what will happen between then and the 2019 general elections. “We are not there yet,” Tsogwane told WeekendPost last year, “Nobody has declared their ambitions because we are still dealing with the primary elections for opposition held constituencies. You’ll know when such time arrives.”

Tsogwane is a key member of Masisi’s allies, and has been tipped as a potential Vice Presidential candidate for the country’s number two post, which will become vacant when Masisi ascends to the presidency at the beginning of next month. Tsogwane made it to the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee last year contesting under Masisi’s lobby list. Tsogwane has also been mentioned as a potential replacement for Masisi as party chairman as Masisi takes the party leadership role concurrently with that of the presidency.

When asked in 2017 if BDP was grooming Kenewendo to take over Boteti West, Tsogwane laughed off the question. “Maybe you can ask her, she is in a better position to tell if she interested in contesting,” he said. It is was also reported that the decision to persuade him was informed by the fear that Boteti West was no longer a safe BDP stronghold, and fielding Kenewendo before endearing himself to constituents could back fire considering the dynamics of the constituency.

While the constituency has never been won by the opposition, the Botswana National Front (BNF), now under the auspices of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), has made inroads in the constituency over the past decade. In the 2014 general elections, Tsogwane defeated Sam Digwa of UDC by a margin of less than 300 votes, thanks to the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) vote splitting. Tsogwane got 5790, Sam Digwa 5549 while Tjiliga  Letsholo of BCP came a distant third with 622 votes.

The constituency, though a BDP stronghold, has failed to attract heavy weights in party primaries. Tsogwane became the MP for the constituency after defeating Gabofele Masusu in party primaries, then known as the committee of 18 in 1999. Currently alongside Venson-Moitoi, Tsogwane is the longest serving Member of Parliament, hence the Father of the House title, which is given to the oldest serving male legislator. For a very long time, the title was the preserve of Daniel Kwelagobe, who served for 45 years as Member of Parliament.

Kenewendo who was lined up to replace Tsogwane will reportedly get another nod as Specially Elected legislator after the 2019 general elections. Ever since being elected as MP, Kenewendo has been accompanying Tsogwane in Kgotla meetings in Boteti West. It is believed the move was meant to endear the youthful legislator to the constituents. Kenewendo’s contribution in parliament has also raised suspicion, with most of her questions, if not relating to fiscal policy related to the constituency.

Last year, Kenewendo asked the Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Tshekedi Khama on interventions he had put in place to enable Boteti West communities to benefit from the two parks surrounding them being; CKGR and the Makgadikgadi National Park. Other questions, including regarding the dire water situation in Boteti West have also been posed by the youthful MP.

 
2014 General Elections Results
BDP    5790
UDC    5549
BCP    622

2009 General Elections Results
BDP 4790
BNF 3748
BCP 459

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