The Minister of Infrastructure and Housing, Nonofho Molefhi, has declared that he will be contesting for Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) chairmanship position at the party’s elective congress later this year. Molefhi – the MP for Selebi-Phikwe East – has brought to rest corridor talk about whether he will contest the position against current party chairman and country Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi or not. He declared on Thursday that though they are still waiting for the writ of elections to be released, he will put his name forward for the post. “Yes, I am interested in contesting for the position of party chairperson and will put by name forward in due time,” said the soft-spoken legislator. Molefhi could not go into detail about who his campaign manager would be and when he would kick-start his campaign, choosing to say that he was waiting the green light from the party secretariat. Molefhi has not been open about his intentions, leaving Masisi camp to strengthen its bid to defend his position. This is said to have forced Molefhi’s handlers to push him hard to declare his interest to allow them to start their campaign as Masisi who has state resources at his disposal has unleashed a strong campaign. “We don’t want him to go the Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi route. She waited until it was too late before declaring her candidature in 2013 and lost to Samson Moyo Guma,” said one of Molefhi’s handlers. Venson-Moitoi confirmed her candidature against Moyo Guma very late when Guma had already covered ground. With support for the BDP languishing below 50 % after the 2014 General Elections some members of the party are rooting for Molefhi to help resuscitate the party. One of the reasons they are putting him forward is that they blame Masisi for failing to lead the party to victory in all the by-elections since 2014. Molefhi garnered 460 votes for additional member position in the BDP NEC in the 2015 elective congress, being the most popular additional member.
Who will support him?
Unlike in 2015 when they were five aspirants to the post, inside sources within the ruling party have revealed that this year it will be between the men. One of the politicians whose name has been cropping up for the position, Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Tshekedi Khama is said to have decided to throw his weight behind Molefhi. “TK has no grassroots control. It was going to be suicidal for him to stand, hence he decided to back down and support Molefhi,” said a source. Another high powered member of the central committee who is expected to throw support behind him is the current BDP Women’s Wing chairperson Dorcas Makgato who is allegedly not in good books with Masisi. The Minister of Transport and Communications Kitso Mokaila is one of the ministers said to be rooting for Molefhi. There are views however among other BDP faithful that Molefhi is too soft to handle the opposition as opposed to Masisi.