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Khama confirms NEW PARTY

Publishing Date : 24 September, 2018

Author : DAVE BAAITSE

Former President Lt Gen Ian Khama has hinted the likelihood of quitting the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in favour of the anticipated new party following a fallout with his successor President Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi.


In an exclusive interview with WeekendPost last week, Khama confirmed that he is aware of the new party that allegedly being formed by some disgruntled members of the ruling party but he would not divulge much information. “I have heard of a number of things in the offering, but the formation of a new party is not something unusual. I can confirm, it’s been a while rumours of a new party making rounds but we are now at a stage where we have passed rumours but it is something credible now,” said Khama.


The former president said he is not aware of the people behind the formation of the party, but indicated that should they approach him for support, they will have to convince him to join. “If they give me an opportunity, I will have to weigh my options. I am a very loyal person but that is not to say I wouldn’t move but I have to be convinced,” said Khama. He said if he does not agree with the recent BDP policies, he has to reconsider his future. Khama, who is of the view that he is sabotaged by the current regime, said this is not the first time such things happen.


The former BDP leader said allegations of the party leader being challenged next year are very credible.  “As a party and country we should always strive to have the best candidates, if a challenger is someone credible, I will support them,” he said. “But from what I have gathered so far, the challenger is someone credible, this is something that has been planned and has been in the pipeline. It has now gained momentum and has also gone beyond a rumour,” Khama said.


Details of the new party in the offing have been making rounds lately but it is not clear who is the mastermind behind the party but fingers are pointing at the disgruntled former BDP leader.  It is also alleged that to take cover, Khama will not be the man in the forefront but he has declined any involvement and distanced himself from the developments.  By nature a populist and a loved man in the BDP circles Khama has loyal followers and some have come out in the open to declare their support for him despite Masisi being the new boss.  However, Khama said he would not agree to the idea of standing for any position in the party in the near future. 

  
ON TSHEKEDI KHAMA’S PRESIDENTIAL AMBITIONS

Khama’s outspoken young brother Tshekedi Khama has been making headlines recently in the local media asserting his ambitions of becoming president. Khama has however said TK has never shared with him his presidential ambitions but indicated that time will tell.  The former president said when TK arrived in parliament, he was just an ordinary Member of Parliament but he was appointed a full minister because he worked hard for it and deserved the appointment.


“I do not want to talk about him because he is my brother but the fact that I appointed him is because he is credible and has done exceptionally well for the tourism ministry with passion,” said Khama of his younger brother.  “We usually share a lot with TK but even when we are home he never shared with me his ambitions of becoming president. Politics is very funny, suppose next year he will no longer be interested and want to do something else. Time will tell.”

KHAMA QUESTIONS BULELA DITSWE

Khama has come out in open to criticise the party’s primary elections arrangement known as Bulela Ditswe because it has proved to be problematic.  He said every time after Bulela Ditswe there are lot of appeals that distabilise the party and resulting in others becoming Mekoko or forming new parties citing irregularities in the manner in which elections were conducted. Khama contends that this calls for a new policy that will ensure that losing candidates are satisfied and accept the outcome of the primary elections. 

THE FALLOUT

After Khama stepped down from the presidency and handed the baton to his trusted man on the 31st of March this year, things did not go as planned. The Masisi administration proved to be a hard nut to crack for former president Khama. The general perception was that Masisi is publicly humiliated his former boss while some believe Khama is undermining Masisi by seeking to continue to influence his decisions.  As former party leader, Khama is still a worshiped man in the party circles and his loyalists currently feel Masisi is hard on his former boss.


A resolution or an act of appeasement between the two proved futile as party elders tried to convene but they will not bend Khama. Things took a bitter twist when Masisi refused to appoint Khama’s trusted man Isaac Kgosi as his Senior Private Secretary following the departure of Brig George Tlhalerwa who was leaving public service a few months back.  Khama told this reporter that he is entitled to a Private Secretary of his choice and this should be someone he has worked with before and someone who understands him better.

This has been the standard practice and Khama submits that the same treatment should be accorded to him.  To show that he is indeed in a brawl, Masisi forcefully removed Isaac Kgosi from his post as Directorate on Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) Director General and replaced him with his longtime rival Peter Magosi. This is a man who was unceremoniously relieved off his duties by President Khama.      

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