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BDP at war with BDP

Publishing Date : 13 May, 2019


The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is set to compete against the party’s expelled former parliamentary candidates, who are preparing to contest as independent candidates in October elections. 

Despite the party’s effort to avoid the catastrophe of 2014 general elections, in which the disgruntled members who lost primary elections gang against the party, contributing to dismissal performance in the previous elections, history is likely to repeat itself.  BDP will again contest the general elections wounded and limping following suspensions and expulsion of some of its popular politicians.

Observers believe the recent decisions have the potential to jeopardize President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s intent of retaining state power in October. Of recent the BDP has suspended and expelled more than five of its members among them former party chairman, Samson Guma, Tati West legislator Biggie Butale as well as Lerala-Maunatlala Member of Parliament Prince Maele.

 The expelled members, mainly associated with the styled New Jerusalem faction are alleged to have conspired against the interests of the party after being ensnared in the power struggle between former President Ian Khama and Masisi feuds that had been going on for some time. Former Mogoditshane parliamentary candidate Tshepang Mabaila, Mogoditshane last week announced on social media that he would be contesting as an independent candidate.

 Mabaila had earlier this year written a letter to President Masisi to have his suspension from the party lifted. He also pledged to support the party’s current parliamentary candidate for the constituency, Tumiso Rakgare. Mabila could not confirm nor deny these speculations indicating that Facebook posts cannot be taken seriously.  “I am waiting for the response from president of the party and my country whom I believe he will consider my request and uplift my suspension.”

A close source to this publication has revealed that Mabaila is considering reversing his decision to drop out of the race, and may throw in his name once again as independent candidate. Meanwhile Maele, indicated that he would not comment on his next move as he was still consulting with his constituents. “I can only be able to respond to this question in two-three weeks. I have 16 villages to consult with,” he said. Maele could not reveal whether or not he will appeal against the BDP disciplinary committee’s decision.

Butale could not rule out chances of him contesting as an independent candidate, stating that he is yet to consult with his family and electorates. Butale said the decisions on his next move will not lie solely on him, hence the consultation with his constituency members.
He however, revealed that some of the opposition leaders have since approached him. “Other parties have approached me, but like I am saying my next move will be determined by my constituency. The direction they give I will follow.”

Butale could not reveal which of the opposition leaders have approached him. Butale has been with the BDP since his university days and helped shape the party with reforms. He won the last elections by 4510 with Richard Gudu of UDC garnering 3506. He lost the primary elections by margin of 500 and contested the result, albeit unsuccessfully. Not only is this trio, but the party will also battle with some of the former democrats. Kammal Jacobs, who once challenged Masisi’s legitimacy as BDP leader, has confirmed that he will contest Lobatse as an independent candidate.

“I, Kammal Jacobs want to tell you that I will contest my constituency as a Mokoko,” he said at a meeting in Serowe recently. Former Minister of Defence Justice and Security, Ramadeluka Seretse has also disclosed that he will contest Serowe North as an independent candidate. Gaborone Bonnington North will also see another former democrat, Robert Masitara eyeing to grab the constituency he once represented.

Masitara has told this publication that the BDP has lost in him and will do everything possible to win the area while also hinting about his presidential ambitions. The self-exiled Samson Guma Moyo who was also expelled from the party recently is also expected to contest Tati East constituency as an independent candidate. One of the officials from the BDP, indicated that the suspensions and expulsions by the disciplinary committee will not in any way affect the party and its constituencies if former members facing disciplinary action contest as independent candidates. 

 “As a party when a complaint is raised against a member the party must take action, it doesn’t matter if the member is popular or not. Taking actions based on such elements would be unfair,” said the source. “The party will work hard, we do not dispute that these members have a strong hold in their constituencies.

We are not focused much on what will happen for now, members can appeal and be given a second chance. Appealing would mean they still have party’s interests at heart, not just walking away. The decision to expel or suspend is not necessarily formal, for now let us not jump in who will be appointed, and let us finish the formal process of the disciplinary process first. ”



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