Since he ascended to the office of Vice President, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) chairman, Mokgweetsi Masisi has had to contend with speculation that he will be challenged for the presidency at the 2019 BDP congress. This intensified ahead of the Mmadinare congress where for the first time five democrats expressed interest in contesting for the chairmanship, which resulted with political pundits saying that it could be a sign of discomfort at Masisi’s leadership. He made his detractors eat humble pie by winning convincingly. The focus shifted to life after 2018 when President Ian Khama retires. One of the names of possible challengers that keep cropping up is that of Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Development Nonofho Molefhi.
Molefhi, who is also the MP for Selibe Phikwe West, is also a member of the BDP Central Committee as additional member. Though he has not yet come out clearly on his intentions to challenge for Presidency, those close to Molefhi say he is seriously considering taking on Masisi. Masisi has been accused of trying to ensure that he blocks Molefhi from challenging him, the latest been the closure of the BCL Mine which some political pundits observe was done to frustrate Molefhi. Reports have emerged that some experts have advised that the mine should not be closed as it has the potential to do well but government ignored that and went ahead with voluntary liquidation. In a press briefing recently, Masisi described his relationship with Molefhi as cordial.
“In fact when we go for our 2018 elective congress I will ask honourable Molefhi to vote for me as BDP chairman and will also support him in any position that he will be contesting,” said the Vice President, who is also the MP for Moshupa/Manyana. He rebutted allegations that his was behind the closure of BCL so to sabotage Molefhi’s political ambitions, maintaining that he is not that powerful. “I don’t have those powers to force government to close a mine just for my political gain and that will be selfish of me to play with the future of thousands people,” he said, adding that Molefhi was part of the cabinet team that assessed the situation at BCL.