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Mokaila dumps Khama for Masisi

Publishing Date : 21 January, 2019

Author : KETUMILE RAMATITI

Specially Elected Member of Parliament (SEMP) and Minister for Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Kitso Mokaila has backtracked on his earlier decision to quit active politics after 2019 general elections, WeekendPost has learnt.


Mokaila after losing the 2014 general elections to UDC’s James Mathokgwane, Mokaila revealed that he would throw in the towel after his term as Special Elected Member of Parliament (SEMP) elapses in 2019. Mokaila’s intentions were corroborated by his decision not to contest the Goodhope-Mabule constituency after it fell vacant in 2015, less than a year after general elections. Mokaila also did not participate in the party’s primary elections held last year, paving way for Eric Molale instead.


The 61 year old minister has for a long time been former President Lt Gen Ian Khama’s right hand man and his favoured predecessor before losing the last elections. Insiders revealed that Khama had already informed Mokaila that he would appoint him as his Vice President after the general elections. The plan was nullified by Mokaila’s shocking defeat at the hands of James Mathokgwane of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). Khama brought Mokaila back to parliament and cabinet after his loss in the general election through the Specially Elected Member of Parliament dispensation.


Now the former Goodhope/Mabule legislator has switched his allegiance to the incumbent, President Mokgweetsi Masisi. This publication’s moles have revealed that the jolly minister has shown interest to continue serving the country politically despite his pronunciations post 2014 elections. Few weeks ago, President Masisi, in a cabinet reshuffle replaced Tshekedi Khama, at Ministry of Tourism with Mokaila, a decision reportedly taken to curb the Khama family’s interests in the tourism sector.


However, many dismissed a re-shuffle decision as a non-starter because Mokaila also belongs to the Khama circle. Recent developments, according to sources, however prove a shift in alliances. “We see and we sit with him in meetings, he is clear that he will be available to assist, but remember that he declared himself not available after he lost elections. He is one of those that is pro the leadership even when things are not going well he will defend with everything available. This was enough sign that his allegiance has changed,” an informer told this publication.


While Mokaila is reported to have dismissed those suggestions, saying he is doing it for the party not any allegiances, some BDP members consider it a political gimmick.  “He was even rewarded by a new ministry for pledging his loyalty to the current administration,” added a source. BDP members however say the minister endeavors to continue serving in cabinet.  “That is the target and surely he will be rewarded. There are some who have made it a habit that they will never contest elections but still get ministerial posts,” highlighted the source.


When asked about this Mokaila who is currently on leave, laughed-off suggestions of change in alliances on his part.  “Contact me on Monday when I will be in office,” he said before asking what the interview is about, “If it is about that you can only talk to me after elections this year, for now no comment. You can write whatever you want,” he hanged up prematurely. President Masisi will after the election assemble his cabinet and it will be influenced by those that came out victorious in the elections.


Masisi is also expected to reward those who have been loyal to his leadership during the transition period. There is a growing list of individuals who expect to be elected via the specially elected dispensation, which is likely to give Masisi a headache. The situation has not been helped by the fact a sizeable number of incumbent MPs loyal to Masisi lost in last year’s primary elections. Among those expected to be elected to parliament include Bogolo Kenenwendo, the youthful Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry. Kenewendo, who was elected SEMP in 2016 was expected to succeed Tsogwane in Boteti West, saw change of plans after the latter was appointed Vice President.


Another slot is reportedly reserved for Lt Gen Tebogo Masire, one of the chief advisors to President Masisi, while Mpho Balopi, if he loses his bid for Gaborone North constituency, is guaranteed a seat.  Loyalists like Shaw Kgathi, who lost to Francisco Kgoboko in party primaries, are also lining themselves up for the SEMP slot.  

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