Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) stalwarts are lobbying the party leadership to consider adopting a compromise list for July congress in order to preserve party unity leading to 2019 general elections.
Information passed to this publication indicates that there are fears within the party that in the back of opposition coalition, which was announced last week, BDP may head to the elections in the back foot. This has not been helped by the uncertainty which has surrounded Khama’s succession plans with at least more than two key figures within the party having entered the race to challenge Masisi for the party and the country’s presidency.
BDP Secretary General, Botsalo Ntuane has hinted that everything may happen going forward but stated that the matter is a subject which has not been discussed by party leadership or other party structures. “No discussions because no one knows who is contesting until we receive expression of interest,” he said.
“I don’t know [if the party will consider compromise], anything is possible in politics but let’s wait for interested individuals to apply to contest Central Committee positions then we will be in a clearer light,” Ntuane further revealed and added that by next week the party would have issued an invitation to submit expressions of interest to contest by next week, of which the deadline will be on the 5th of March.
Already, former A-Team factionist ring leader, Jacob Nkate has drifted to party Chairman; Mokgweetsi Masisi’s side, giving away his chairmanship and presidential ambitions to now contest as secretary general. Nkate’s change of stance leaves Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Development Nonofo Molefhi and Tshekedi Khama, Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism as clear challengers to Masisi in July Congress and for the presidency as well.
Both men have expressed their desire to challenge Masisi, who is the apparent heir to the throne of presidency by the virtue of his position as President Ian Khama. According to the country’s constitution, a sitting VP, automatically succeeds to presidency in case the sitting President ceases to hold such a position, in case of illness, death, resignation or any circumstances. In case of Masisi, he is expected to elevate to presidency when President Lieutenant General Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s 10-year term comes to an end in April 2018, that is, a year before the next general elections.
Although Masisi is guaranteed ascendance to the position of the presidency in 2018, there is a vacuum brought upon by the BDP constitution which allows the party to convene a congress for the purpose of electing a presidential candidate during an election year. This clause has interest many in the party, unsettling party members and stalwarts in the process. President Khama, who would leave power at the end of March next year, has been mum on the matter, allowing the events to play on their own without intervening.
In 2011 following the splitting of the party in the preceding year, Khama devised a compromise list which was endorsed by the congress at Mahalapye.Khama’s succession to the vice presidency was also marred by factional wars within the party, a situation which also threatened BDP rule after the dismal 1994 election performance.
Automatic succession dates back to late 1990’s when former Vice President, Festus Mogae succeeded Sir Quett Ketumile Masire in 1998 after 18 years of Masire’s uninterrupted rule to become the country’s third President, thanks to the then new constitutional provision which introduced a 10-year Presidential term and automatic succession.
However, Ponatshego Kedikilwe, who was viewed as politically stronger than Mogae, had wanted to challenge the latter for the presidency. BDP was however able to agree on compromise list with 1997 and 1999 congresses all endorsing compromise lists. Nonetheless, Khama’s presidency has never been under threat and his has always been a smooth sail. However, the current V.P, Masisi has to contend with many opponents who are ambitious to take him down. In fact the next few weeks will be the busiest for the party as interest parties throw in their name to officially open up their campaigns.
Evidence of disunity within the party played out during the most recent by elections, two weeks ago, in which the party lost all two council seats (Palapye and Tsabong) to opposition parties; the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
Weekend Post has also been informed that the loss can mainly be attributed to internal bickering between Molefhi and Masisi supporters who are finding it hard to work together during party activities. Molefhi, although on the back foot, enjoys a good will from his colleagues in parliament and a considerable number of party structures in the north. His humble and self-effacing demeanour has earned him respect within the party.
However, the introduction of Nkate on the side of Masisi tilts the scales on Masisi’s side. Nkate’s major strength is his knowledge for party structures, having been Kwelagobe’s (long time serving BDP Chairperson) successor in 2007. Nkate has also been involved in the thick of the things, the factional wars in particular.
Nkate-Masisi deal may see the former taking the country number one position in the event that the BDP successfully defend its stay in power against the now evident formidable opposition. Nkate would however first dispose his long-time nemesis, Thato Kwerepe, in Ngami constituency at the party primary elections next year.
Meanwhile Tshekedi Khama, younger brother to President Khama, has taken a mild approach, waiting for party stalwarts to do the underground work on his behalf. Tshekedi’s stature as President Khama’s brother and the country’s first President, the late Sir Seretse Khama’s son, paves way for him to the hearts of many in the central region, BDP’s stronghold and where Bangwato chieftainship has major influence.
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.