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UDC hopes to cash on Khama/Masisi feud

Publishing Date : 03 September, 2018


Opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has hinted that it’s on the wings like vultures waiting to pounce on its prey. The party says this in relation to the internal bickering in the ruling Botswana Democratic Change (BDP) between President Mokgweetsi Masisi and immediate ex-president Lt. Gen. Ian Khama.

Masisi was Khama’s chosen Vice President and endorsed by parliament. They are currently not in good terms and do not see eye-to-eye just over three months following the exchange of baton between the two. When reading into the dispute, observers contend that the deteriorated relationship between the duo is borne out of the suspicion that Khama, believes that Masisi may have renegade on what was agreed by the two men.

Others posit that Khama may have wanted to rule from the grave as is common with some former presidents who have a soft spot for power. Khama who is still influential and commands lot of respect as now Bangwato paramount chief – the most popular tribe in Botswana - has re-entered the political field.

Already he has de-campaigned Minister of Justice Defence and Security who doubles as Bobonong legislator, Shaw Kgathi while indirectly endorsing his competitor, Francisco Kgoboko at an Agricultural show event in Bobonong. Kgathi will face Kgoboko at BDP primary elections which have since been postponed.

It is understood that Khama’s next political target may be Minister of Basic Education Bagalatia Arone who blamed Khama administration for the current mess in the education sector in the country. It is still unclear who may follow afterwards in the BDP battalion of law makers. Apart from the political feud, Masisi has denied Khama aircrafts mode in his official travels few times this is understood to have not gone well with the former president.

President Masisi also recently released a savingram that would starve Khama access/publicity in the state broadcaster Botswana television (Btv). Masisi has also made handful drastic reversals to most of Khama’s brainchild policies, programs and approach to governance.
 It appears, while he was his VP and endorsed most of his decisions, Masisi’s blueprint will be more consultation as opposed to Khama’s presumed ‘totalitarianism.’

While the Khama/Masisi feud is playing out in public gallery, the opposition coalition although currently in tatters too, say they are watching with keen interest the developments in the BDP top echelons of power - with much admiration. Speaking to Weekend Post in an interview this week on the BDP fights particularly Khama/Masisi bad blood the UDC spokesperson Moeti Mohwasa said the BDP is already on a downward spiral in terms of the popular vote.

“The BDP is already on its knees – with or without the internal challenges at the BDP. We are poised to win the 2019 General Elections. For the first time in the history of this country, we are ruled by a minority government. They contested the last elections united but couldn’t cross the 50% mark. Ever since 1969 General Elections the BDP has been on downward trajectory,” he asserted when asked how UDC may benefit from Khama/Masisi cat fight.  

Mohwasa continued to point out that the BDP will lose next elections because “it is a given that disunity in any organisation compromises its optimal performance. Just like it happened to the opposition in 1999. The BNF performed badly in 2009 because of divisions.” When this reporter posed a question in relation to how UDC will benefit from the BDP infightings whilst itself UDC is also shaking as far as the affiliate parties are concerned he said “No. We are working around the clock to resolve them.”

Meanwhile a legislator who seemed to be still in Khama’s good books is his long time friend and cabinet Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development and legislator for Tonota Thapelo Olopeng. Khama was spotted attending a kgotla meeting in one of his subjects as a Bangwato paramount Chief in Mandunyane.

Masisi’s inner relationship with Olopeng is still unclear. It appears like at this stage leading to the 2019 General Elections it will be a roller coaster and a marvel to watch in the political scene in the country, but only time will tell which party will emerge victorious despite all the influential factors put forward before then.



Do you think the courts will help put the UDC, BMD impasse within reasonable time ahead of the 2019 General Election?