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SA firm conducts research on Masisi, Khama feud

Publishing Date : 18 March, 2019

Author : KETUMILE RAMATITI

A South African based consultancy firm (name known to this publication) is carrying out a clandestine research on the ongoing hostility between President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his predecessor Lt Gen Ian Khama.


The research began two months ago and it is expected to be finished by the end of March, with the “findings and recommendations forwarded to the relevant stakeholders.” WeekendPost sources disclose that the research is financed mostly by Khama’s business allies who have developed interest in the ongoing animosity since the end results could leave them with unimaginable repercussions. This publication has also established that the engaged firm was also tasked with facilitating Khama’s media engagement in South Africa last week while en route to India to meet Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.


The study according to impeccable sources is focused on four key areas; offering political intelligence to Khama and aligned members, possibilities of forming a new party, viability of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) independent candidates surviving outside the party, and lastly uniting BDP after elections.


It is said when the organisation first examined the party situation late last year, they predicted BDP going to the general elections polarised with a number of its members contesting as Independent candidates. This study then increased its scope to examine if it will be possible for those who have been suspended or expelled from the party to win their seats if they contest as independent candidates. Last weekend Ghanzi region assembled for their regional congress where unlike other regions failed to reach a consensus in endorsing Masisi as president going to the Kang elections.


 “This is what the other guys are banking on and they knew about this. This shows that there is a possibility of rise in number of independent candidates from the party. Most of them are likely to dump the party if at all Masisi is imposed on them and they [members] have a plan hence they have approached Khama for assistance in case they leave the party,” a source told this publication.


Already the party has issued letters to 30 members including councillors and Central Committee members to show cause why they should not be suspended or even expelled from the party. This is the aftermath of last month’s Serowe meeting which was called by the party regional ‘elders’ apparently to seek an explanation on factors that led to the nomination of Masisi instead of Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi as party presidential candidate. The party deemed the meeting unconstitutional hence the disciplinary hearings.


The research will advise whether it will be possible for those facing expulsion to go all the way to their parliamentary and council seats as Mekoko. “Tati East legislator who is also a BDP Secretary General candidate Guma Moyo has been earmarked to coordinate all other prospective independent candidates before the elections with Khama anticipated to give them both moral and financial support,” a source told this publication.


“It is expected that a number of MPs will resign and join forces with those that lost the primary elections who are feeling hard-done by the leadership for not listening to their laments for re-runs,” added the informant. The thought of forming a new party is still much held by Masisi’s antagonist within the party and it seems possible should researchers give it a thumb up in their recommendations.


In the past Khama confirmed to this publication that he is aware of the new party that is 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 also 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 being sabotaged by the current regime, said this is not the first time such things happen.


The ongoing study further seeks to establish if it will be possible to unite the party after the general elections slated for October. While many observers are of the view that the BDP will be divided after the elections, the research is expected to come with better ways on how to resuscitate the party thereafter. This, however, would only be carried if Venson-Moitoi emerges victorious in the party presidential elections in Kang on the 5th of April 2019.


“If Venson-Moitoi loses, the plan will have to change and some BDP MPs and councillors will have to resign and join forces with opposition party possibly to form a coalition government. But if she wins then the research recommendations on uniting the BDP will be implemented,” highlighted a highly placed source.


For now Khama is said to have made it clear that he is still awaiting the research findings and recommendations before he can commit. “He has not made any official stance on this because he says he want to appraise himself with the details of the study. He emphasized that he is not available for now but he will see what kind of assistance they need,” summarised WeekendPost source this week.


INTERNATIONAL MEDDLERS REVEALED

While the feud has been described as a party affair or a two man show, it has now escalated to the international level. Khama is reportedly enjoying a support from South African government.  “He has backing that side (South Africa), that is why he was even accorded protocol by their government despite Botswana government having made it clear even to Botswana embassy there not to avail protocol to him but the SA government went against that,” highlighted a source this week.


It is also indicated that the Western countries are rallying behind Khama, with their interest solely on tourism and mining sector. It is said Khama just like the Europeans is irked by a looming global dominance by China which threatens Western control on African countries.
On the other hand President Masisi is enjoying backing from the Chinese and Indians, sources say. Under his reign, Botswana is expected to make a number of economic relations with the Chinese.


Already China in addition has offered Botswana a loan and a debt cancellation of 80 million pula, China has also offered a 340 million pula ($31 million) grant. The bulk of the loan is expected to fund the Mosetse-Kazungula railway line project, which will link the central part of Botswana to the tourism hub in the northwest.

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