‘I served BCP well, it’s time to give others a chance’
Outgoing Botswana Congress Party (BCP) vice President, Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang, who is MP for Sefhare-Ramokgonami constituency says he is a political animal and will not retire from active politics.
Speculation has been rife that Dr Gobotswang will be retiring from active politics after he did not raise a hand to contest any BCP central committee position at the upcoming elective congress.
In an interview, Dr Gobotswang, who defeated Taolo Lucas for the position of BCP vice President at 2015 congress in Kanye, said he has done his part and it is time to give others a chance. He said he is proud of his achievements after serving the party at central committee level. “I was co-opted into the Central Committee as the Secretary for Health before taking over as the Deputy leader to Gilson Saleshando in 2005 at the Elective Conference in Letlhakane. Actually, I went to Letlhakane as a Presidential candidate together with Otlaadisa Koosaletse and Gilson Saleshando. I was campaigning on a pro-opposition cooperation platform while Saleshando was opposed to opposition cooperation. What impressed me was that upon retaining the presidency, Saleshando senior towed the party line,” said the veteran BCP outspoken politician.
The party line Dr Gobotswang refers to was a resolution to enter into negotiations with like-minded opposition parties for the 2009 general elections. By 2009 general elections BCP had merged with New Democratic Front (NDF) and Social Democratic Party and struck a pact with Botswana Alliance Movement (BAM). “In 2009 we reached an important milestone obtaining 19.2% popular vote and winning fve Parliamentary seats which was a big jump from one seat we got in 1999 and 2004. BCP was the fastest growing party, hence the motto of “The Party of Choice and Join the Growing BCP, MOGOBAGOBA”. When we went for an elective conference in 2010 in Maun I voluntarily gave way for Ephraim Setshwaelo who became the Vice President and I became the Secretary General,” he said, reflecting on his journey.
After the 2009 elections, BCP merged with BAM resulting in the substitution of the Rainbow and Dove symbol with Kgomo E Tshwana showing BCP commitment to united opposition. Many had expected that since he was the VP, Dr Gobotswang should become the next President after Saleshando senior but he felt that the younger Dumelang Saleshando was the most suitable candidate to lead the party since he was already in Parliament and was the torch bearer ready to take over leadership.
“Besides, I was on a full time job as a University of Botswana lecturer. In fact Saleshando junior was my preferred presidential candidate in 2005. I only contested because he could not avail himself to contest against his father. One of my highlights in leadership position was successfully leading a three person BCP Task Force on the relocation of Basarwa from the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve (CKGR) and producing party policy documents such as a series of Democracy Alerts.,” said Dr Gobotswang, proudly.
In addition, Dr Gobotswang said he played a critical role in negotiating the BCP entry into the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), despite internal resistance from some sections of the party. According to him, it was a huge achievement and it paid off as the BCP is currently a UDC member today.
“I am a political animal and I don’t see myself retiring from politics. I think I need to give others a chance to serve the MOGOBAGOBA since I have done my part. My mission still remains unchanged, to see the BDP out of power. As a disciplined member of the organization I will be available to undertake short term special assignments for the UDC family in general and BCP in particular. I will do it for my mentors, Michael Kitso Dingake and the late Gobe Matenge,” he said.