Vice President Slumber Tsogwane has been called on to step up and up his political game in support and defence of President Mokgweetsi Masisi, The Patriot on Sunday has learnt.
During the festive holidays which were not enjoyed by most of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) due to political chicanery within the party, party elders called on the Number Two citizen to rise to the occasion and protect the presidency.
Highly placed sources have revealed that party elders met with Vice President Tsogwane and raised their concern that he seems to be too quiet amid the sustained attack on the presidency by former President Ian Khama.
“His voice is too mute but as the second in command he must lead in front in protecting the president and thwart any attacks on him as it is currently is happening,” revealed the source.
Contacted for a comment, the BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi dismissed allegations that Vice President Tsogwane – who is also the party chairman – has been advised to up his game in defending the presidency.
“His Honor the Vice President Tsogwane has been defending not only the president but promoted the ideals of the party and democracy within the party and government,” he said.
He confirmed that they have been engaging not only the party elders but all the structures of the party on what is going on within the party.
“The leadership of the party is not sitting on their laurels but has been engaging all the party structures as part of consultation,” he said, adding that since everything is playing itself in the open, party members are not standing up for the party to protect it.
During the presidency of Khama, his deputy, the late General Mompati Merafhe was always at his defence.
In his element General Merafhe told off Khama’s detractors – “You may not like the President, but you don’t have to lie about him.”
He did not allow his political principal to become an object of abuse and ridicule. In his book The General, in service of my country, the late General Merafhe wrote that he was facing a hostile opposition as he defended President Khama as his Vice President.
Then in came Ponatshego Kedikilwe, who was also at the forefront of defending the President as his Vice.
Coming to the defence on Khama, Kedikilwe – who became the Vice president in 2012 – said to the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) President Dumelang Saleshando,
“The former honourable Leader of the Opposition has reacted to the speech with cynicism, pessimism, sarcasm, innuendo that verges on vulgarity. He saw nothing good. Heard nothing good! He rubbishes the speech as sterile. Under Botswana’s democratic dispensation it was former Leader of the Opposition’s opportunity to display the sterility of his own drama in responding to the speech,” he said.
President Masisi – who became the third vice president of former President Khama – was also always at his defence and protected him. Tsogwane, who took over from Masisi as party chairman, is yet to address the media on what is happening within the party.
When former Presidents – the late Sir Ketumile Masire and Festus Mogae – criticized Khama’s style of governance, Masisi jumped to his defence.
Khama has continuously attacked President Masisi labeling him naïve and lacking in tack. In Serowe recently he said Batswana are longer allowed to express their views freely as they will be reprimanded.
Going forward, Tsogwane is expected to lead the campaign for President Masisi and engage with the media frequently as party chairman.
Party elders and some of the advisors of President Masisi have recommended that Tsogwane should lead the campaign and engages elders. A campaign team is said to have been assembled that will assist Tsogwane and accompany him in his political rallies and party meetings.