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BDP MP Aspirants in scuffle to succeed Masisi

More contestants are continually expressing interest in filling the shoes of Member of Parliament (MP) for Moshupa/Manyana Mokgweetsi Masisi.

As the country’s Vice President Masisi is expected to step down as MP following his ascension to the presidency in April, as per automatic succession. Masisi who is also the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) chairman will on the 1st of April 2018 succeed President Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama as his 10 year term prescribed by the constitution elapses.  As the date draws nearer, his successors are in the wings. 

One of the hopefuls to succeed him, Karabo Gare, seen as Masisi’s blue eyed boy highlighted to this publication exclusively in a recent interview that he was ready to contest, should there be need. This publication quoted him as saying: “I can confirm that should constituents find the need to send me to parliament to represent them at the by election expected soon, I can avail myself. I am more than ready to take up the assignment but only when the VP steps down from the role of the Member of Parliament (MP).”

Gare is not only the aspirant who has “hinted” on his imminent candidature, another contender is Lentswe Mosanako, a former two time councillor at Moshupa East. Speaking to WeekendPost in a separate exclusive interview this week, Mosanako confirmed that: “yes it is true I have high interest and yes I mean really high interest in contesting in Moshupa/Manyana constituency.”

The former BDP Southern Regional Chairman went on to state that it has always been his plans to stand for the MP position in the next General Election. He highlighted that “even if the VP was not stepping down from the MP seat to become the president, I was still going to contest in 2019.”

“I was intending to go and stand against him (Masisi). He has always said anyone can and should feel free to stand against him in party primaries. Whoever qualifies should stand if they so wish. It was not even about the by election,” he asserted.
However Mosanako pointed out that Gare whom he mentioned as a political novice, took him by surprise. “Who thought Gare would stand?” he asked rhetorically.

In terms of whether Gare is a threat, he maintained that, the latter “is a political novice. He is just a normal BDP member. I don’t know him in political circles. He is a new comer. But he qualifies to stand. And I am not in any way implying that he cannot be a crowd puller at the rallies and pull a surprise.” Although Gare is seen as a favourite and more closer to Masisi who may have influence in who succeeds him, Mosanako maintained that the VP should not take sides. 

“You see I don’t have any problem with VP Masisi. I support him to be president. He is my leader. But he should not make a mistake that I hear doing rounds in the village. I hear rumours that he may be having a favourite candidate amongst us, being Gare to be specific,” the outspoken ex-Councillor warned. 

He maintained that the party chairman should not pronounce on his preferred candidate to succeed him and as a party leader he should instead wait for whoever is elected at the primary elections either Gare, Mosanako or whoever will emerge victorious – and support them. 

Trying to be careful on the issues to avoid chances of being vetted out before Primary Elections, he explained that as a former soldier he is more disciplined and to avoid raffling some feathers he emphasised that they should be equally respected as fellow party members.

On Gare’s alleged association with the VP, Mosanako stated that the BDP constitution does not make mention that as candidates you inform anyone, besides the party, to give you a leeway to stand for elections. “It is not binding to inform an incumbent or anyone that I would like to contest,” he said. “Only when the writ of elections is out, that every party member in good standing should be free to throw in their names in the ring signalling their intention to contest and to campaign freely.”


On whether he is not at a disadvantage in the face of reports and strong speculation on the ground that Masisi supports his competitor, Mosanako said it would rather put him (Mosanako) on the advantage. “Yes it’s an advantage,” before adding that “but I do not believe the VP can do that because he is preaching unity. If he does that he will be tearing the constituency apart.”

The BDP activist explained that all the candidates that are contesting in the constituency must know that they should not expect anyone from a high office to endorse them against other opponents. “We do not want leaders who divide us and we must not let elections divide us as well. We must know that whoever will emerge victorious, won due to a free and fair campaign with no any other justification.” 

When you stand for elections, Mosanako said electorates must assess you on your own merit and no candidate should therefore campaign on the notion that a predecessor supports them as it brings division in the party and at the end it may be seen as not reflecting the will of the people.

He stated: “it should be fair and square, with integrity and credibility. The losers should not find any excuse like a leader has a preferred candidate, or there were no membership cards given to their followers to vote at the party primaries and the like. Voters roll must be clear, done procedurally and appropriately without bias to registration of names.” Mosanako, who lost the Council Primary Elections in 2013, also said “since am always home, and closer to the community, I hear residents’ concerns about the party, government and their social lives. We must know the problems faced by the constituents.”

Mosanako said he remains cautious that other candidates may enter the race as the day of the by elections draws closer by the day. When quizzed on chances of BDP retaining the seat, he said “in my observation, the Moshupa/Manyana constituency is marginal. There is no party that can claim stronghold.”

So, he added, whoever wins the BDP primary elections must work hard and know that bloodthirsty opponents await them. “It will not be easy to retain the seat; we will have to launch our entire arsenal,” he highlighted. Meanwhile the BDP branch Chairman in Moshupa Manyana constituency Bushi Tshiping, said until the Vice President becomes president in April 1st, making the MP portfolio in the area vacant then the party Central Committee will authorize instigation of campaign.

“Masisi has not bid us farewell yet. He has not yet said we should look for a replacement,” Tshiping said. In the last elections (2014), Masisi 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 votes.

In 2009 Masisi had again emerged victorious by 6374 votes while BCP attained 1519, the BNF 1219 and an Independent  candidate 60 votes while another Independent candidate managed 72 votes. The by election will be held approximately 6 months after Masisi is inaugurated as president – before end of this year.

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