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Kwelagobe: I am done with active politics

Publishing Date : 08 December, 2014

Author : ALFRED MASOKOLA

Kwelagobe and Khama


Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Chairman Daniel Kwelagobe has revealed that he will not seek any leadership position in the party. He rules out future participation in the Central Committee or any other party structure in future following his defeat in the October elections.  


Kwelagobe who lost his constituency, Molepolole South, to Dr Tlamelo Mmatli of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) will go down in the history books as a Member of Parliament who has served most terms in the Botswana Parliament.


Kwelagobe has been the MP for that area since 1969 and has defended the constituency on eight successive occasions. The fall of Kwelagobe also saw the UDC taking Molepolole North from BDP as Botswana National Front (BNF) veteran, Mohammed Khan dethroned former Cabinet minister, Gaotlhaaetse Matlhabaphiri.


Kwelagobe told Weekend Post this week that he is done with active politics and he will not seek any central committee position going forward.


Kwelagobe has served in the central committee since 1967, first as the Deputy Secretary General, Secretary General and Chairman of the party until 2013 when he voluntarily stepped down from his position and announced that he was not seeking re-election at the Maun Congress. “I am not going to contest for any party position in future but I remain a BDP member and I will continue serving the party,” says Kwelagobe. The veteran former legislator said he is now venturing into farming.


Kwelagobe remains the only MP to have served under all the presidents of Botswana. He was recruited to the party by BDP founding President Sir Seretse Khama. It is in the 1980s after Seretse’s demise that Kwelagobe emerged as the most powerful man in the party. With Seretse gone, Kwelagobe become synonymous with the name BDP. A hardworking and charismatic individual, Kwelagobe was known to have the impetus to traverse the country in an effort to build party structures and canvass for support.


KWELAGOBE ENDORSES VP MASISI
Despite mixed reactions over the appointment of Mokgweetsi Masisi as the Vice President, Kwelagobe has pledged his support for President Khama’s choice noting that as a BDP member he is compelled to support the president’s choice.

He said for the BDP, the most important thing is that Khama has chosen someone he wants, and someone who he knows will work amicably with.  “I often say Vice Presidency is like marriage, you choose someone who easily relates with you and it is solely on the president to pick that person,” observed Kwelagobe.


Kwelagobe never had an amorous relationship with the current President Ian Khama as more often than not, the two clashed in factional wars. Kwelagobe is the legendary Barataphati faction stalwart which in the past included the likes of former Vice President Ponatshego Kedikilwe. It is generally believed that Kwelagobe was instrumental in the formation of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), a splinter party formed in 2010 by Barataphati members disgruntled with President Khama’s leadership style.


However, it is believed that Khama and Kwelagobe smoked the peace pipe towards the 2014 general election in an effort to bring stability within the party and enhance election prospects. Kwelagobe was used to recruit back Barataphathi members who went on to form BMD, among them Samson Guma and Botsalo Ntuane.


Kwelagobe a long time friend of former Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Margret Nasha stood by Nasha’s side during the Court Case in which the Attorney General was challenging the constitutionality of the standing orders in regard to voting of the Speaker of the National Assembly, Deputy Speaker and endorsement of Vice President.
 

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