Heavyweights and senior figures in the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), being vice President Slumber Tsogwane who is the party Chairman and minister Eric Molale have spoken out on the ongoing standoff between President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his predecessor Ian Khama, which is likely to destabilize the ruling party.
The unpleasant relationship between Khama and Masisi has become a worrying factor for the ruling party, and has anxiety and fear in the BDP ahead of the 2019 general elections.
For a long time having been one of Khama’s right man and a close ally during Khama’ s presidency, Molale last week broke ranks with his former boss who masterminded his rise in government.
Molale told Ian Khama to back off and let Masisi rule in his era without any unnecessary distractions and pressure piled on the incumbent by anybody. Surprisingly, Eric Molale’s relationship with Khama has been in numerous occasions saw Molale being appointed to high level positions such the Permanent Secretary to the President before appointed Specially Elected Member of Parliament after he lost the 2014 general elections.
He was then later appointed to the most senior ministry portfolio being the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration (MOPAPA) the position he held until Khama left office in April this year. Molale currently serves as the Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security.
Following the 2015 Good Hope Mabule bye election Khama pitted Molale to contest for the elections and he faced competition from the then youthful Kenaope Fankie Motsaathebe, however Motsaathebe withdrawn from the race paving way for Molale who then lost to UDC Candidate Kgosi Lotlamoreng by 4, 372 to 6, 152.
Prior to contesting in the elections Molale resigned his Specially Elected MP position and Khama on the later stage re-appointed Molale to the ministerial position and still shows his admiration and closeness with the now defiant looking Molale.
He said Masisi did not break any law nor undermine anyone when he made several changes when he ascended to the presidency and emphasized that every president before had made decisions and run the government on his authority so it should be with Masisi as well.
“People should not interfere in the administration of the government of the day that they don’t form part of. If he (Masisi) shifts gears in government does not mean he is undermining anyone’s implemented policy or decision before but he has the right and power to run the government on his way as well”, asserted Molale.
He said by declaring that the current administration will put emphasis on consultation should not be interpreted to mean the past leaders did not consult. He said consultations do not in anyway imply that Khama was not open to consultations.
Molale did not shy away from expressing displeasure at the leader of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Duma Boko, whom he accused of not giving Masisi time and respect to lead the country. He said Boko's actions has already demonstrated that they are calcultaed towards instilling fear and panic in the country. Molale was referring to the failed motion of no confidence on Masisi that Boko tabled before Parliament.
Tsogwane speaks out
Tsogwane, who has silent on the issue, finally spoke about the tension between Masisi and Khama. He blamed opposition politicians for misleading the nation by sensationalizing and exaggerating the issue to gain political mileage. He said Masisi decided to make the best out of the situation by seeking intervention of the party elders. “Surely the issue of time, regarding transition cannot be confined to a one day’ s event. What follows thereafter is equally important, that narration in this case does not speak to otherwise expected smoothness," Tsogwane added