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Khama’s P10 million grand farewell

The much awaited President Lieutenant Gen Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s farewell party has been discussed more than once behind closed doors at his Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) meetings and already dates have been confirmed while spanners are at work to finalize other logistics. About P10 million has been projected as budget for the grand farewell.

Sources who spoke to this publication revealed that the bash will be held next year on the weekend of the 16th and 17th of March. The strategic decision was taken for the party to bid farewell to one of their ‘greatest leaders’ at a party event- 54th national council in Gaborone.

“That’s where the party [BDP] will bid him goodbye at the event and a lot of activities are lined up though I cannot confirm for now as they are yet to be finalised,” said a source. The outgoing President who has announced that he will lead the party’s 2019 general election campaign will evaluate the incoming President Mokgweetsi Masisi at the ceremony. The latter has been assigned to poach new members especially from the opposition ranks.

“His membership drive will be paraded at the event as one of Khama’s presents. Moreover it will give him chance to see how the ground looks like in terms of new members as he is expected to be the poster boy for the party going to the next pools,” said the party insider.
 


On numerous occasions, sources say, Masisi has pleaded with fellow democrats to mobilise support and recruit new members. He has been tasked with a robust recruitment drive ever since 2015 which included winning the youth who records have shown them to be mostly aligned to the opposition parties. Up to date the numbers of the recruits is yet to be public but it will be revealed at Khama’s farewell celebrations with some members paraded for his satisfaction.

Since August 2015, Khama has embarked on a mission to restore the party’s attractiveness before end of his term next year. Khama is worried that his once indomitable party could possibly lose office come 2019. The poor performance in the 2014 general elections and the subsequent by-elections losses have given Khama more reasons to worry about the party.

Since August 2015, the president has been engaged in a series of mobilisation activities across the country. The activities include meetings with the Central Committee, regional tours, branch visits and other team building functions. For the first time in history, BDP has had two consecutive Special Congresses where the party converged to discuss issues regarding the party’s future, between 2015 Mmadinare Congress and 2017 Tonota Congress.

Part of some resolutions adopted by the party during Khama’s leadership were the revision of primary elections' system with particular intention to fortify membership data and improve the management thereof; and the president's one-on-one home visits in the villages for purposes of interaction with fellow citizens should continue. These were the tactics Masisi’s recruitment was expected to profit from.

Already the government has released a saving gram to all relevant stakeholders notifying them of Khama’s farewell meetings. It has attached dates of the meetings with the first stop being Masisi’s Moshupa-Manyana constituency on the 14th of next month.
Khama’s meetings with the public will culminate in Serowe on the 23rd of March next year.  

While spanners are at work with progress on track, some members of the ruling South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) will be present at the ceremony. “It will depend on who ascends to lead the party next month as we expect the party chairman, but not only ANC other parties across southern Africa like ZANU-PF, the Patriotic Front and SWAPO. Maybe one or two presidents but we will be more concerned with inviting parties,” said a source.

As it stands it is not yet clear as to what the state will do for Khama for his farewell party. However the same benefits that his predecessors enjoyed will also be passed to the fourth president of Botswana. The government spokesperson Jeff Ramsay was out of the country at a time of going to print.

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