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Did Masisi camp court AP for support?

Publishing Date : 18 March, 2019

Author : DAVE BAAITSE

As the date for the highly anticipated battle between President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi and former Minister, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi draws near, alliances are being stitched to counter eventualities.


The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Kang billed Special Congress and the possible motion of no confidence and Dr Masisi in Parliament are dominating the political discourse at the moment. It is reported that some of the key personnel in President Masisi’s corner have tried to connect with the Alliance for Progressives (AP) to counter any planned motion of no confidence. Masisi’s key people are reportedly aware of approximately 12 disgruntled BDP legislators who are willing to support the intended motion of no confidence planned against him.


When calculating the risk President Masisi’s supporters are said to have sort to counter the motion of no confidence by approaching a friendly disposed and newly formed AP, which has five Members of Parliament, to vote against the motion. Meanwhile some in the BDP also want to discuss a possible formation of a coalition post October. In the initial motion of no confidence tabled by Leader of Opposition Duma Boko last year, reportedly working with the anti-Masisi BDP faction — AP MPs abstained from voting, while the majority of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) MPs voted in favour of the motion.


 It is reported that Masisi team’s proposal has but been conditionally received by all the four AP MPs, except Major Gen Pius Mokgware of Gabane/Mmankgodi. AP allegedly gave Masisi a condition that they can only consider supporting him or a coalition with his government only after the general elections in October, as to be seen supporting him would not be welcomed by party members.  AP leader, Ndaba Gaolathe has however denied any agreement between his party and Masisi over voting in favour of him in motion of confidence or possible coalition.


“There has been no meeting with him [Masisi] or any proposal from him whatsoever,” Gaolathe told this publication. The motion was reportedly, as it was the case with the second one, to be moved by Boko but he reneged at the eleventh hour because his party does not want to be seen to be meddling in BDP affairs. In addition the harassment of Boko by government organs Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) and members of Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) is assumed to be another contributing factor.


However, UDC spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa has denied that links that the coalition had the intention of tabling a motion of no confidence against Masisi but admits that there have been lobbying from anti-Masisi faction to support the motion. “The UDC has no intention of tabling a motion of no confidence nor has it ever discussed or considered doing so,” Mohwasa said. “What is the case is that some of our deployees have been lobbied to support it. We will consider our options when the motion is brought up.”


Meanwhile the 12 disgruntled BDP MPs who also threaten to resign from the party and contest the 2019 elections as independent candidates have decided to wait for the aftermath of Kang Special congress before they decide on their next move. The aggrieved members of BDP who have put their weight behind Pelonomi Venson- Moitoi for the presidential race against President Masisi have vowed to take up the motion by themselves. There are also indications that a split is eminent in the BDP.


Meanwhile those in the Vensob-Moitoi camp point to possible rigging of the Kang elections. This week Venson-Moitoi asked the party to furnish her with the voters roll and enquiring on the electoral process to be used as well as who will be conducting the process. There have fears that there is a lot of discontent and no transparency in the voting process. Recently President Masisi has been going around the country officiating at regional congresses where he also donated P 5, 000 per constituency to help with preparations leading to Kang congress.


This week Venson-Moitoi came out very confident that she will emerge victorious at the Kang congress. One of the longest serving woman Legislator and Minister, Venson-Moitoi fell out of Masisi’s favor after announcing her candidacy for presidency. Under mysterious circumstances Moitoi was immediately stripped off her Ministerial post and kicked out of her Ministerial house. When contacted for comment Venson- Moitoi confirmed that she sent the enquiry but the party has not responded to her yet.


Earlier this week the alleged Venson-Moitoi camp made demands to the party and insinuated that if they are met they will likely collapse the party before Kang congress. First in the list they wanted the appointment of a new electoral board citing that the Chairman Peter Siele is biased and conflicted. They also want the rules and regulations to guide contest as code of conduct compiled by the central committee.The Moitoi faction also made it very clear that they want compilation of the voters roll and distribution of it to all candidates. They pointed out that they want the structures to be impartial.


With only few weeks to Kang, the faction made submissions that they want the congress to be postponed and relocated to a venue suited to accommodate all the delegates. The faction which is believed to be spearheaded by Samson Moyo Guma, want the harassment and intimidation of Venson- Moitoi supporters to stop forthwith and the targeted disciplinary letters to be withdrawn. They want democrats campaigning for Masisi to stop the use of state aircraft and other modes of transport under the guise of accompanying President and his vice.


The faction also submitted that the strategy and communications committee should conduct itself as governed by Constitution and Regulations and not president Masisi’s mouthpiece. They also demand that the party chairman Slumber Tsogwane meet with Venson- Moitoi to get verbal report on their grievances.  


Lastly the faction wants Venson- Moitoi campaign to be given airtime and coverage on state media as is the case with president Masisi’s campaigns. They also instructed that the DIS stop monitoring Venson-Moitoi campaign activities and interfering in an internal party contest in support of Masisi campaign. They pointed out that the DIS conduct is breach of its founding statutes, illegal and a blatant breach of the constitution of Botswana.        

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