- Accuse him of failing to move their demands
- ‘We wanted to see Masisi and no-one else’ -MPs
- ‘They are out order, I didn’t do any wrong’ – Kablay
- Backbenchers pursue Thiite to replace Kablay
Knives are out for veteran Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary Chief Whip Liakat Kablay, whom fellow backbenchers want demoted and replaced by Ghanzi North MP John Thiite.
Information gathered by this publication is that Kablay has fallen out of favor with some BDP backbenchers who now believe he has been won over by Vice President/ BDP Chairman Slumber Tsogwane. Ghanzi North lawmaker Thiite has been identified as Kablay’s replacement as MPs orchestrate an ouster through a motion of no confidence in the upcoming winter Parliament session party caucus.
Contacted for comment on Friday, Thiite said he has no idea over the plan for him to be a government whip, declining to comment further on the matter saying he is focused on his constituency.
Kablay said he has done nothing wrong as per the retreat that was held recently. He said his duty in accordance with party procedures alongside vice president is to arrange for meetings with President Mokgweetsi Masisi and the retreat agenda was not arranged by him. “Those MPs who are saying to be not happy are not telling the truth. When we prepared for the retreat they put demands before a Secretary from Tsholetsa House who then passed them to leadership. I am not shaken by anyone. I do my job well as the BDP Chief Whip,” said Kablay.
Kablay, who is MP for Letlhakeng-Lephepe warned BDP MPs to desist from sharing their grievances in public but rather to follow internal processes.
At the center of the brewing fallout between Kablay and disgruntled backbenchers is that the Letlhakeng- Lephepe MP has failed them over their retreat with Masisi recently.
Prior to the retreat, MPs are said to have indicated to Kablay who served as their messenger to Masisi that they did not want to meet anybody else but the president. So, the BDP MPs are unhappy with how their retreat was staged with the presence of some of the BDP Central Committee members such as vice president Slumber Tsogwane among others. “Our request from the beginning has been to meet the president alone. We made it clear that we wanted to address our issues with him and not through the meeting which was held. So, Kablay owes us an explanation over why our key demands were not presided to,” said one BDP MP.
According to the disgruntled backbenchers, a lot of salient issues such as the mismanagement of COVID-19 due to rife allegations of mushrooming financial misappropriations were omitted.
As a result, the MPs are considering to push for the government to present before parliament on monthly basis financial reports on the COVID-19 a move which the cabinet is not likely to accede to.
It is alleged that former minister of Finance and Economic Dr Thapelo Matsheka proposed to the cabinet that he gives a nation update on funds utilization but his request was thrown out.
The MPs and some within cabinet have grown increasingly impatient with the President who has been enjoying an ample power under State of Public Emergency (SoPE) amidst COVID-19.
At the retreat, MPs demanded for Masisi to give out a clear COVID-19 recovery roadmap that will ensure that their fortunes don’t suffer ahead of general elections as nation is very unhappy.
“The pandemic has done harm for the sectors of economy and the voters were badly affected. The government must provide solutions because as the ruling party MPs we now getting lot of criticism from electorates owing to coronavirus mitigation regulations particularly SoPE. So, our opposition rivals now use some kind of COVID-19 mismanagement to decampaign us,” said another MP.
Nonetheless, Kablay is very confident that the government is on track in managing COV-D-19.
At the retreat, Masisi assured the MPs and nation that government is committed to realigning its priorities in terms of delivering the 2019 elections promises that have been dampened by COVID-19.
He also pointed the blame on poor government service delivery on the civil servants, a move which infuriated trade unions which are also ganging up against Masisi and his fellow BDP MPs.
Last week, the president of Botswana Federation of Public Private and Parastatal Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) Johannes Tshukudu warned Masisi and BDP MPs to desist from taking workers for granted.
Tshukudu at the launch of BOFEPUSU workers charter last Friday said that the federation will in 2024 polls plot against the parties and political leaders who are not advancing interest of workers.