• Molale loss divides BDP
• 'There is nothing special about Molale'
A strong campaign has been set in motion within the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to block Eric Molale, who lost the Goodhope-Mabule by-election last week, from being reappointed specially elected MP.
The revelation came to the fore during the closing ceremony of the 35th Ordinary Summit of SADC heads of State and Government on Tuesday when two cabinet ministers (names withheld) were overheard in the ablution facilities of Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) discussing the issue.
Although the men's restroom is one place where one can relax his body while enjoying the call of nature, on the day it proved to be a place where deals were made and the future of politicians discussed. At around 0918 hours, the two cabinet ministers entered the restroom and their conversation was about the Goodhope/Mabule by-election result in which Molale – Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration – was humiliated by Kgosi Lotlaamoreng II of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). “This guy has insulted H.E. and the party. How can he lose with such a huge margin while we used a lot of resources to campaign for him?” asked the talkative minister.
The minister suggested that Molale should have listened to advice that he must concentrate on his ministerial post. “He is not smart! I told him he was not going to win because it was clear he was not popular in the constituency,” responded his colleague, who is very close to President Ian Khama.
As they blew their hands under the drier they intimated that they will have to meet with other central committee members to convince Khama not to retain Molale. The two ministers, who according to their conversation, were some of the BDP MPs who were not included in the campaign strategy for Goodhope/Mabule vowed to push for Molale not to be nominated again as specially elected MP. “This can be too bad for the party and government even to H.E. himself because some people now think he has turned the BDP and government into an exclusive club for certain individuals,” said the minister very close to Khama, adding that there is nothing special about Molale.
Not aware that they have company in the restroom, the two cabinet ministers expressed their worry at how the ruling party is losing in by-elections and blamed it on Khama not listening to their advice and sticking to those who are only advancing personal interests. The relationship between Khama and Molale is said to be not always a rosy one as the two clashed when the latter was still the Permanent Secretary to former President Festus Mogae.
Ahead of the Goodhope/Mabule by-election, Molale resigned as specially elected MP and cabinet minister only for Khama to reinstate him to cabinet hours later. Last week Kgosi Lotlaamoreng won the constituency by 6152 while Molale came distant second at 4372 and Comfort Maruping of Botswana Congress Party (BCP) trailed at 385. Molale will have to wait for November session of parliament to know if Khama will nominate him again as specially elected MP and get endorsement by parliament.
BDP Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane said as far as the party is concerned Molale remains a minister. He said the central committee and later the party caucus will have to meet to decide who will fill the post of specially elected member. "I cannot comment on allegations that some do not want him back in parliament as that decision is yet to be made by the party. We are not even aware if there are some within the party who do not want Molale back in Parliament," said Ntuane.