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BDP veterans back Isaac Kgosi

Publishing Date : 14 May, 2018


A collective of past Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) MPs, ministers and high ranking officials have emerged out of the woods expressing dissatisfaction at the management style of President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

The seasoned members have decried what they have termed ‘his hyper attitude’ when dealing with party members saying it can leave the party in deep divisions going to the 2019 elections. The party’s old guards unlike the nation who in the past weeks have hailed the president as a reformer, particularly following the axing of former Directorate on Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) boss, Isaac Kgosi,  say the President should be careful not to immediately do away with his predecessor’s inner circle.

“It should be well thought of, as it could endanger his authority. This guy (Kgosi) has a lot of information and he is still powerful and can do everything he wants to jeopardize Masisi’s rule. So the advice could have been, get into the game, absorb the pressure and then do whatever after familiarizing yourself with the dynamics,” a source said.

Further, the veterans who held a casual meeting sometime last week believe Masisi is making the opposition stronger, although it appears he may be strengthening the ruling party. Their argument emanates from the appointment of Bagalatia Arone as the Minister of Basic Education. “This is frustrating to those who have been with the party through thick and thin, the expectation was someone from the team could have been given the portfolio rather than a new person, what does this mean, paying defectors with cabinet positions?” said one activist of the party. Arone joined the party last year from opposition party BCP.

“Kgosi has never been tested at the courts of law and those are just allegations and the President saw it fit to change the guard informed by whatever information he had, whether right or wrong,” former minister Daniel Kwelagobe highlighted. He added, “Maybe he was doing the nation’s wishes.”

It is not Arone’s appointment that has rubbed the old guards the wrong way, as Kenewendo’s too, irks them. “You should have strong ministers’ comrade, those that can protect you when the chips are down. Not what we are seeing, this is politics, ija!” another party old-guard reportedly said at the casual meeting. While the veterans see in principle that Masisi could have buried political differences, they maintain he should understand that politics is a deadly game.

There is growing concern among them that Masisi, who has managed to recruit back Kentse Rammidi to the party, could award him with a ministerial post. “This indirectly, is saying to the current BDP activists and MPs that they are not good enough. On the other hand telling opposition members they have what it takes to come in and take positions of authority,” said an informant who did not want to be named. “While it is true that others may feel like they are being sidelined, everyone who is a party member qualifies for the ministerial position just like anyone,” Kwelagobe added.

The appointment of ex-opposition die-hards like Rammidi reaffirms what Leader of Opposition, Duma Boko has said in the past. Boko said, unlike the BDP which has reached ‘sunk-base’, UDC as an alternative party is based on competency. “You see the BDP appoints cronies and friends, failing to appoint competent people because they are not in their party. So that is why we want the best candidates that will lead government authorities.”

Should Masisi continue this way, the veterans believe they might sponsor a plot to oust him in the next congress as the party could be deeply divided going to the next elections. “We will see after August (primary elections) that is when we will take a stand whether to summon him or any other available route. But for sure we will have to see people who can bring power in 2019 winning the primaries,” another present member asserted.

Another issue of concern to the veterans and MPs is the elevation of specially elected MPs to cabinet. According to the backbenchers, only those who have been democratically elected should be eligible for nomination in ministerial positions. “They don’t know the pains of campaigning and being grilled by constituents for failing them. When you call them to visit your constituency they are reluctant some may tell you that there is no money, like really? So if someone who knows how rough it gets in politics, they may not hesitate to visit when you call them since they understand the plight.”



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