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BDP insulted my father - Khama

Publishing Date : 12 August, 2019

Author : DAVE BAAITSE

Former President Lt Gen Ian Khama has expressed regret that the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) leadership has resolved to keep quiet when his father, Sir Seretse Khama — who is the founder of the party — was ‘insulted’.


Responding to some comments that were uttered by Sefhare- Ramokgonami Member of Parliament (MP) Dorcas Makgato at Chadibe village during a political party rally recently, Khama said they are angry as a family and disappointed in someone of Makgato’s position to insult their parents.  “At the moment I can understand TK’s [Tshekedi Khama] frustrations. We are all angry, Makgato was just not insulting my father, my father was one of the founders of the BDP and first President of the BDP, and so he never left the BDP,” Khama told WeekendPost on Thursday.


“This goes even beyond the BDP. When you visit other countries my father tend to be held in high esteem and clearly this woman does not feel the same way.” Khama continued: “She said what she said wearing BDP colours, at a BDP press conference, as a BDP Chairperson of the BDP Women’s Wing and a minister in the BDP government. So she was actually speaking on behalf of the BDP when she said that.”


The former President, who left the ruling party in May this year, said if Makgato’s views do not represent the party, why it is that no one is coming out to condemn or correct what she said.  He said instead what they did, they made Tsholetsa House available for her and the Secretary General to continue to regurgitate the same thing she said at Chadibe. He said the party did not try to correct or distance itself from her in fact they endorsed what she said. He said the fact that BDP are quite about it is proof that they said about his father.


“So TK’s anger is born under the fact that Makgato is a colleague, they are both in the Central Committee, both in cabinet and a fellow colleague insult your parents, it is not nice”. Makgato came under spotlight after a video of her addressing a rally in Chadibe, a village in her constituency went viral on social media.  In context, the minister seems to be attacking the founding President of Botswana, Sir Seretse Khama who is the father to former President Khama and Minster of Youth, Sports Empowerment and Culture Development Tshekedi Khama.


 “I personally admit I did not listen to the video or watch it because I do not think I should justify its existence by doing so but certainly other people who did said to me categorically, they knew she was referring to my father. So for her to try and distance herself from that is actually disingenuous. She was referring to him [Seretse Khama], that’s a fact”.  Khama attributes Makgato’s behaviour to be emanating from the fact that he is facing defeat in the coming general elections.


He said when a politician is facing an inevitable defeat, they will react in different ways. He said some will be quite mature and say “you win some you lose some,” and that others will react with anger and frustration because they are not able to come to terms with the facts.
“I think this whole saga around her is precisely because of that. She knows that her defeat at the elections is inevitable.”


Khama took a step aback to describe Makgato’s relationship with Masisi as bad blood during his tenure as President of the country, with the two becoming a regular at his office because of their internal fights. Khama said the whole Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) press conference was designed to discredit him.


“The only thing that I urged her to do towards the end of my term in office is when she was coming to me to complain about Masisi and the fact that he is interfering in her constituency and that he has picked somebody to stand against her during primary elections,” he said.
“I called Masisi and told him what Makgato said but he denied it. She was so angry about Masisi, she kept on telling me that it was a mistake making Masisi my Vice President. There is bad blood between the two of them. She was not the only one complaining, a number of ministers came to see me. I then called a special cabinet retreat for two days to try to sort out the matter”.


Khama dismissed Makgato’s submissions that he owned a considerable amount of land saying he only inherited the land back in 1980. “I have not taken more land since then, I have not added to it and I have not applied to any land in that area” he said. Khama also said the spring water that he has been using to water his farm has since dried up, hence he drilled a borehole. He said when the spring was still running he used to provide people of Borotsi with water and that what Makgato is saying is totally untrue.


Khama also denied allegations that the water from the open water reservoir is not baboon infested.  “She is telling lies once again. As a Member of Parliament for that area she has never raised those concerns with me”.  The former President continue to say at the time while he was at BDP, he was still Kgosikgolo of Bangwato and they never complained when he went around the country campaigning for the BDP.


“I have always been a Kgosikgolo, at the moment I cannot be viewed as active in politics because I hold no political office. The difference between me and him is that we as Dikgosi we don’t insult people like she does. That is the reality, I know she does not like it but she can never take it away from me.” The former President said he will be consulting with the constituents at Serowe West to consult and persuade them to allow him to join the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF).


Khama said BDP’s lack of response to what Makgato said, have actually made his task easy to convince his people why he should leave the BDP. “I am going to use this as another reason why [Tshekedi should leave BDP], they have already told me they are very upset about what Makgato said. I am still delaying because they are now scoring own goals and they are helping me a lot,” he said. Tshekedi Khama remains one of the few BDP MP candidates that have not been launched to date even though elections are expected in less than a month now.

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