Venson-Moitoi for VP?  

SHARE   |   Monday, 27 November 2017   |   By Phillimon Mmeso
Venson-Moitoi for VP?  

 The race for the vice presidency is slowly taking shape as the 1st of April 2018 fast approaches, when the new president Mokgweetsi Masisi takes office to become the fifth president of Botswana.  One of the leading candidates who was dropped from the race due to her ambition to contest the 2019 elections Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has declared that she will no longer contest. Responding to the State of the Nation address in parliament on Tuesday, Moitoi revealed that just like the Speaker of the national Assembly Gladys Kokorwe she will be retiring in 2019.This was the second time she stated that she will retire only for her to somersault but sources close to her have revealed that this time around there is not coming back. Moitoi who is one of the leading candidates to be the Vice President on a transition next year has raised speculation that she might have accepted the offer to be the second citizen until 2019. Sources close to Masisi have revealed that Moitoi was dropped as one of the potential VP candidates after she indicated that she want to contest the BDP Bulela Ditswe for the 2019 General Elections. Moitoi who has been an MP for 20 years which the better part of it served as a cabinet minister is viewed by many within the Botswana Democratic Party as the right person to help Masisi in 2019 due to her political experience. In 2010 when BDP was going through turbulent times which culminated in giving birth to its first offspring Botswana Movement for Democracy, Moitoi stepped in and volunteered to help President Ian Khama to steer the sinking political ship. A close associate of President Khama, Moitoi has survived some political storms especially whilst at Ministry of Education and Skills Development which was going through rough times especially their running with Teacher Trade Unions. When she left the ministry under controversial circumstances she had already won the hearts of teachers especially the unions Botswana Teachers Union and Botswana Sector for Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) who hailed her and felt that she was on the right track to bring sanity to the ministry. When she left the ministry of education in 2014 she was replaced by Masisi after cabinet toured the schools around the country to inspect their status. Some felt that this was some political chicanery within the ruling party to dent her chances of becoming a VP in 2014 as the then VP Ponatshego Kedikilwe indicated that he was stepping down. 

After the 2014 she was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations which is quite and it was clear she has resigned from politics. To show that she was fed up with politics, Moitoi contested the position of chairperson of African Union Commission where she was initially a front runner. Former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe indicated that Moitoi was a capable leader only lost because President Khama was not attending the AU meetings. After he lost the AU Chairpersonship position she switched to BDP elective congress where she threw her weight behind Masisi. After the Tonota elective congress where Masisi humbled his challenger Nonofho Molefhi, Moitoi was cropping frequently as a potential VP. “This will augur well for Masisi as he will be the first Botswana President to appoint a woman as a VP thus winning the hearts of gender activists both locally and internationally,” said one democrat. The challenge that Masisi’s inner circle with Moitoi was that she now wanted to contest the 2019 elections thus will complicate Masisi’s plan as he wanted an interim VP. He was looking for an experienced politician who will help him ahead of the 2019 general elections campaigns. Other potential candidates include Member of Parliament for Nkgange Edwin Batshu who is viewed as above party factions and Member of Parliament for Boteti West Slumber Tsogwane. Tsogwane who is Minister of Local Government and Rural Development has also indicated that he wants to contest but is being convinced to step down and pave way for the youthful Bogolo Kenewendo. “Should he agree to step, Tsogwane will be nominated and appointed as the Speaker of the National Assembly and we are hopefully he will adhere to the proposal,” said one of Masisi’s inner circle.



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