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Masisi, Tsogwane blamed for BDP factions

Publishing Date : 18 December, 2018

Author : KETUMILE RAMATITI

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Members of Parliament have asked party President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi and his Vice President also party chairman, Slumber Tsogwane to desist from favoritism as it will fuel the ongoing raging inferno of divisions within the party, WeekendPost has been told. 


In a no blows barred party meeting to close the year this week, backbenchers took the war to Tsogwane and gave him an ultimatum to stop favoritism lest divisions balloon into something severe. One thing they made clear is that should “apparent bias” continue, they will form their own faction which will prioritise their needs.


The meeting according to sources was characterized by complaints from party members. Tsogwane is said to have given the MPs audience “as he wants a better shaped party next year and the members did not disappoint”. An issue which dominated from the floor was alleged nepotism by Masisi and Tsogwane, sources say. The members say the two (Masisi and Tsogwane) are travelling around doing star rallies at their allies’ constituencies while leaving out other members. “Divide and rule will exacerbate the already visible divisions,” Tsogwane was told this week.


For now the party has staged five star rallies in constituencies other members say are pro Masisi. “There has been these kind of rallies in Chobe, Maun East, Ngami, Okavango, Tonota and other constituencies while others are ignored despite making calls for the same arrangement. So MPs believe that the leadership is prioritizing their cronies while sidelining others,” shared an informant within the party. It is said the decision to stage those rallies was taken looking at the contributions made at party meetings and parliamentary sessions.


Konstantinos Markous (Maun East), Bagalatia Arone (Okavango), Machana Shamukuni (Chobe) are believed to be close to the current regime and also ‘yes sir men’. Thato Kwerepe (Ngami) is also hinted to be a ‘yes sir man’ who is also handled with kids’ glove. He is said to have requested the same rally in an effort to erase Jacob Nkate from the scene. “He is afraid Nkate can still come back and having rallies with the leadership is the only way to legitimize him to electorates,” added another source.


The angry MPs argue that this arrangement is the breeding space for factions like ‘imagined New Jerusalem’ as they feel abandoned. “It should be clear we belong together, if not, we can also stage our parallel rallies because this is not right. We should be left to have our faction that will be clear with its mandate and it should not be deemed as indiscipline,” added another source on Wednesday.


The disgruntled legislators are already mobilizing to have a patron that could be in a position to launch them since only new ministers are getting that privilege. As of now, the name of former president Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama has been on the lips of many but others do not agree.
“Of course he can be, but others want someone like Kedikilwe (Ponatshego) but then he lacks charisma possessed by Khama so it is yet to be decided. Mind you it can only be concluded if the status quo continues.”


MASISI REBUFFS BDP RETREAT 


Calls for a retreat are said to have been dealt a blow after President Masisi decided that those with issues should rather see him individually.  Tsogwane was tasked with finding a date that will be accommodative to all MPs and the President who has a very busy schedule.
The retreat was expected to be held early next year to tackle burning issues with primary elections set to dominate proceedings. But as things stand the President will only meet MPs individually. “A number of members including Vincent Seretse and Biggie Butale are irate as to how the whole primary elections were conducted and it has been agreed that this should be dealt with at a retreat with all the sub-committees present,” revealed a source.


LOTTY, NCHI DIVIDE BDP

It has also cropped at the party gathering that the MPs are at pains with new members getting priority over the long serving members. It is said Lotty Manyapedza and Kentse Nchi Rammidi have been travelling around with the leadership addressing rallies and briefing regions about the party status with Masisi. “What do they know about BDP? They have just defected from the opposition. They should take a back bench,” one MP told this publication.


This, MPs say, is strategic positioning by the new members to be given some posts after elections next year. “We know they want to be rewarded at the end of the day especially when it comes to nominations or specially elected positions,” another MP briefly said. Party Chairman Tsogwane however is said to have pleaded with the democrats to accommodate new members. “We should show them that they are welcome in the party and it should not be interpreted otherwise. Let us be united and be welcoming to whoever joins the party,” he asked the MPs who were taking none of it, according to insiders.


Already there are reports that Rammidi may contest for the position of party secretary general, something which irks some BDP insiders. Next year is a busy schedule for the ruling party as there are a number of activities on the calendar – with the party congress and general elections are the highlights.

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