Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) has upped their ante in recruiting high profile politicians from their mother party, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) sending mixed political signals within and outside the party.
Former Members of Parliament, Cabinet ministers and senior civil servants are expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks.
Sources within the party have revealed that the party wants to cement their presence in the northern part of Botswana, especially within the Central District where their Patron former President Ian Khama is very influential.
“We need these experienced politicians from the BDP to make sure we are dominant within the Central district and not only that – we need a Central Committee which commands respect,” revealed a member of BPF.
The recent defection of former BDP strategist Lawrence Ookeditse to BPF is said to be part of the grand plan as he is expected to fill up the void left by the late founding Secretary General Roseline Panzirah-Matshome.
Ookeditse was part of the BDP Communications Team during the presidency of former President Khama with Matshome. He is expected to use his experience to market the BPF.
Ookeditse, who lost the BDP parliamentary primary elections to Paulson Majaga for Nata/Gweta constituency, is expected to contest for the constituency under the BPF ticket.
Though former Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Nonofho Molefhi has denied link to BPF, highly placed sources have revealed that he is seriously considering defecting.
Due to his political experience and the respect he enjoys across political divide, Molefhi is earmarked to lead the party as President at the next elective congress. Molefhi is also expected to move to Serowe were he might contest parliamentary elections for Serowe South under the BPF ticket.
He is currently the coordinator for the preparation of the 100th birthday of founding President Seretse Khama in Serowe.
Molefhi challenged President Mokgweetsi Masisi for the party chairpersonship at the 2015 Tonota elective congress where he lost.
When Masisi assumed presidency in 2018 he shocked many when he appointed him as senior minister. Many expected President Masisi to retain him after the 2019 elections as Specially Elected Member of Parliament but this didn’t happen. He told a local newspaper this week that he would require his family’s permission to discuss any political move.
Another catch for the BPF is former Member of Parliament for Palapye Moiseraela Goya who resigned from the BDP this week.
Sources within the BPF have revealed that Goya is earmarked for the party chairpersonship position at the next elective congress. The BPF is pinning its hopes on the delimitation which might see Palapye being divided into two constituencies which Goya will contest.
Acting BPF Secretary General Vuyo Notha said as a new party they need experienced politicians to help steer the party to new heights; hence recruitment of high profile politicians from the ruling party.
“Going forward we are going to need their experience to help build the party forward, especially looking at 2024 general elections,” he said.
Asked if this will not unsettle some within the party who were eyeing certain positions and constituencies, Notha said the new recruits have not been promised any positions.
Political Analyst Leonard Sesa warned that the recruitment of retired politicians is a double edged sword.
“They will bring political experience which the party highly needs but on the other they are going to ruffle feathers within the party as they will want to have positions within the party,” he said.
He said the recruitment of the experienced politicians might lead to some within the party leaving as they will feel undermined and used.
“Look at how Biggie Butale suffered while leading the party from its infancy and then you want to replace him just like that, he is going to fight back,” he said.