Security has been stepped up ahead of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) special retreat to be held next weekend in Palapye.
A communiqué from Tsholetsa House to all regions makes it crystal clear that only accredited members will be allowed at Majestic Five Hotel. Delegates have been asked to send their names this week.
“Non-accredited members will not be allowed into the venue and no accreditation will done at the event,” read the invitation letter to all regions.
This development has sent shock waves among BDP activists who normally gate crash party events.
BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi has revealed that they had to enhance security at their events after they received information that there are some people within and outside the party who want to cause challenges at the retreat.
“We have been informed that some within the party want to disrupt the event and undermine the part leadership by causing violence at the event,” he revealed.
Asked who informed them, Balopi said some within the party who attended those meetings where disruptions were planned tipped the party leadership.
“We cannot take anything for granted and dismiss that as rumours only to regret later. We had to be proactive rather than reactive,” he said.
The security details will be enhanced furthers ahead and during the national council and special congress in April this year.
“Scanners will be used during the three key events to ensure there is no violence caused. Even the media will be accredited,” revealed the source.
The BDP leadership is said to have received security alert from the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) who warned about possible violent disruptions at their gatherings.
Last year the BDP had to abruptly postpone the party’s primary elections after they were briefed that there was possible voter fraud and planting of instigators during the hotly contested elections. They canceled the primaries with immediate effect.
Not only were the BDP systems hacked and voters’ rolls tempered with but the plan also included planting of instigators in some constituencies during the BDP primaries, especially in constituencies deemed strategic.
Those behind the plan, who are alleged to be some high ranking party members working in cahoots with some former intelligence agents, are said to have started working on the plan around June last year.
DISS is alleged to have warned the party leadership that there are some within the party who plan to cause disruptions at their congresses as way of paralysing the party.
“The president was briefed that some within the party who are not happy with his leadership have organised some young BDP brigades as instigators during the congress. The first was going to be the national council which is expected to be held in March this year,” revealed the source close to the Office of the President.
“This will rule out the possibility that those who caused havoc are outsiders. Normally during BDP gatherings, though only delegates are allowed during closed door sessions, the security is always relaxed allowing anyone with party regalia to attend though they cannot comment or vote,” revealed the source.
The modus operandi, according to the intelligence information, was not only to instigate violence but lead to bloodshed to ensure that party leadership loses credibility.
The BDP is currently divided into two factions with former President Ian Khama aligning himself with the New Jerusalem which has Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi as their presidential candidate to challenge Masisi.
Early this year, security details of President Masisi and his Vice Slumber Tsogwane were enhanced after DISS picked information that there was direct threat to their security. The issue is said to have been exacerbated by the political feud between President Masisi and his predecessor Ian Khama.
In an interview last year, DISS boss Peter Magosi said that anything that threatens the national security they will deal with it decisively even if it is a political event.
“If we find that the issue poses a threat to national security we will act. Should any issue within a political party threaten national security, we will call the leader of that party and inform him/her,” he said. This came after opposition parties condemned the spy agency for meddling in BDP politics when they advised that the primary elections be postponed.