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BDP, BPF fight for Molefhi

Nonofho Molefhi

Former Minister in the presidency and Member of Parliament for Selibe Phikwe East, Nonofho Molefhi’s deadline to have given the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) a solid answer on a request made to him to come and lead the party long elapsed about three months ago, but the former Selebi Phikwe legislator says the BPF should not worry because he will soon revert and close the matter.

Molefhi has of late been a subject linked to the future of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and its offspring, BPF-which is in a dire and desperate hunt for a not only credible but acceptable president.

WeekendPost can, however, reveal that Molefhi will not be joining the BPF because “certain powerful forces within the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) have finally convinced him to stay and be part of the future of the party which may soon need him more than ever in the not so distant future.”

In a brief interview with this publication, Molefhi said he will close the BPF issue soon. “It is true that I have kept the BPF for a long time in waiting. But I will soon inform them of my decision which I hope will close the matter,” he said.

Asked to confirm the news that some BDP strongmen have been persuading him to stay in the party, Molefhi said: “Of course many people including senior members of the party, whom I assume had picked up the news of my recruitment in other political formations, have been in discussions with me to stay and help grow the BDP. You will also need to be reminded that I am still a bonafide member of the BDP,” he said.

Molefhi has been the BPF’s last hope of the BDP former Ministers who have rejected the BPF, and his yet undeclared decision will be a big blow to the BPF family. Many in BPF have been praying for his arrival to close the cancerous presidential issue threatening to rip the two-year-old party apart.

Lawrence Ookeditse, the spokesperson of the BPF, says that although there was nothing written to Molefhi, he was an integral part of the party’s recruitment strategy. “We all know what an absolute gem he is. Any serious party will want him in their politburo,” he says.

It is unknown why Molefhi has taken so long to revert to the BPF, but suspicions are that he may not be ready for the stress associated with a new political formation. That may not be all; speaking to this publication recently, Political scientist Professor Zibani Maundeni said the Ian Khama factor remains the BPF’s most significant challenge because he remains the party’s de facto leader at a distance under the guise of a patron.

“Khama still wields so much power, and I don’t think any president will enjoy his presidency while Khama’s shadow is still around,” Maundeni said. “Molefhi’s recruitment by the BPF was initially meant to avert a calamity of a Tshekedi Khama presidency. Khama does not think Tshekedi is an ideal candidate, but the latter thinks highly of his political aptitude. Khama has never really trusted his brother as a political animal, as you may be aware,” an anti-Tshekedi Khama source said.

Fears from the BPF well-wishers are that while it is every member’s democratic right to contest for power within the party, the candidacy and possible victory of Tshekedi will only serve to confirm or vindicate those who say the BPF is a Khama family project. “You can’t have a Tshekedi as a president and his brother as a party patron. In that case, power will be centralised within the family,” states the anti-Khama bloc.

The rising tensions seem to have been sparked by Tshekedi’s maturing presidential ambition. It looks like Tshekedi’s team is gaining ground in some areas hence fears by some who have hinted that Tshekedi has already recruited the party MPs to his team.

It looks like the return of former Tati east MP Samson Moyo Guma is the only hope for the anti-Tshekedi bloc. They posit that with Molefhi unpromising, their only bet is Guma, whom political observers describe as a basket in which one cannot put all his eggs. Tshekedi was not available for comment at the time of going for press.

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