BDP soul searching

SHARE   |   Tuesday, 02 December 2014   |   By Ephraim Keoreng
BDP soul searching

A high-ranking Botswana Democratic Party official is accused of name dropping President Ian Khama’s name to get the Minister of Local Government and Rural Administration, Slumber Tsogwane to add 50 names of his supporters in the nominated councillors list.

There are 119 nominated councillors and the acceptance of this list by the minister would have meant that the top official, who was on a mission to beef up numbers to prepare for the upcoming central committee elections slated for next year, would have been well-positioned to retain his seat or position in the party’s top decision-making body.

The official is said to have approached the minister with the names, claiming that the list had Khama’s blessing. However, Khama, who is said to have never approved any list nor sent anyone to the minister to submit anyone’s names, apparently got wind of this through some of his sources and made it clear that the minister should do his job without interference from anyone.

Contacted for comment, Tsogwane said that he heard that somebody was carrying a list with a lot of names, “but that person never got to us. I think he might have realised that it would not be possible to influence us, hence he developed cold feet,” he said.

He said some people preferred that certain individuals should be considered, but “we did not listen to that. People apply in their constituencies and then area MPs would recommend the people in that list in their areas. The names are approved by cabinet,” he said.

He disclosed that of the 119 positions, they only gave three to the opposition - one in Kgatleng, one in Tlokweng and one in Gaborone.

The historic poor performance of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) at the General Elections is said to have stoked factionalism within the party. Already some members of the Central Committee have been blamed for failing to come up with strategies that could have seen the party doing better than in the just ended General Elections.

As the party prepares for the elective congress, which will be held next year, the BarataPhathi and the A-team factions are said to have started their campaigns in earnest.

This is said to have put a lot of pressure among some members of the current Central Committee, especially one top official, in the A-team, who is accused of being too power-hungry, pompous and abusing his powers. They say he has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and some have even told him to his face that they will deal with him next year at the elective congress.

“This man is very dishonest and has lied even to the party leadership about a lot of things. He forgets that lies are short-lived,” said a source.

Some of those who lost the General Elections on both sides of the factions have reportedly refused any posting to foreign places. They want to consolidate their power bases. “You also don’t want a situation where you would miss a bye-election where you could end up winning. But most importantly, we need to campaign in good time for the Central Committee positions next year,” said a source within the party.

A-Team member, ambassador Tebelelo Seretse, who was Botswana’s envoy to the United States came back earlier from her posting in what people think is to campaign for the party chairmanship. Interestingly, another Seretse, Ramadeluka Seretse is also said to have indicated that he joining race for the chairmanship. The former legislator lost the primary elections this year and is said to be focusing on consolidating his power within the party.

Retired Vice-President Ponatshego Kedikilwe, who is currently the party chairman, is not expected to stand for the post after he announced that he will not seek political office.

Former BDP chairman Samson Guma, who resigned amid accusations that he was scheming to position himself for the Vice-Presidency, has said he will not stand for the chairmanship.