Former President Ian Khama says the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), under the leadership of his successor Mokgweetsi Masisi, is in desperate times as its key members are not happy.
As the BDP held a crucial elective congress in Tsabong over the weekend, Khama -who is the patron of Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) denied supporting the Nonofo Molefhi camp against vice President Slumber Tsogwane’s team.
Khama, who dumped the ruling BDP ahead of 2019 elections, said a lot happens in local politics, and he always knew it was just a matter of time before BDP members start voicing their displeasure with the party leadership and government. “I am often in discussions with prominent members of the party, including some in cabinet and Parliament who are very critical of Masisi for having lost the party so much support and damaged its reputation, along with his appetite for self-enrichment,” he added.
According to Khama, the ruling BDP under Masisi has just become a shell with nothing inside it. “Totally and completely empty with nothing to offer at all. The other parties are the hope of the nation as Batswana crave for regime change. However it is this fact where they want to scramble for the political spoils that the BDP, when ousted, will leave behind that causes some within to lose sight of the bigger picture. But unity is and will remain the object to achieve and I am confident of that and will do my best to contribute,” said Khama.
Asked about his links to the BDP chairman candidate Molefhi regarding the allegations that as BPF Patron he funds Molefhi Khama said “I am a member of the BPF. I am its Patron. I have absolutely nothing to do with the BDP nor do I have any interest in it other than its removal from government,’’.
Contacted for a comment on Friday, BDP Chairman of Communication and International Relations Subcommittee, Kagelelo Kentse brushed aside Khama’s opinion about BDP. According to Kentse, only the haters can make instability claims about his party. “BDP will elect its leadership this weekend in Tsabong and come back united and more unified, unless Khama has sent people to destabilize the BDP from within,” said Kentse briefly on Friday.
Political and Administrative Studies lecturer at University of Botswana (UB), Dr Adam Mfundisi said BDP must avoid humiliating the Molefhi lobby as they did with Pelonomi Venson -Moitoi before.
Currently, he said the party is afflicted by the factions and if not handled properly may lead to a split. “Those BDP members from the North of Dibete are faced with the existential threat from being obliterated from the political space. The opposition parties are dethroning the BDP up North. If the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) survives its political conflagration, the BDP, like on parties that rose to power at independence, will be defeated and never rise again,” said Mfundisi.
The UB political academic added “I assume that if the Molefhi group is defeated unfairly, most of those from the North will defect to the opposition. It is hard to sell the BDP North of Dibete,’’
Meanwhile, Khama said the BPF relationship with the UDC will be guided by congress only as it will discuss various options in this regard and vote on it. He said he would like to see any alliance with the UDC that the congress chooses that will form a solid block to defeat and remove BDP from power. BPF central committee recently resolved to join UDC.
Asked about when he is returning home, Khama said “I always miss home even from the time I went to school. When I travel for a day or a week on any duty or conference or visit. I am embedded in the soil and the soul of my nation from which no man will ever succeed in parting me from. It does not matter where I am, even if I am out of the country, spiritually I am in the country every day and in every way”.
According to Khama, his connection with Batswana cannot be broken as they go through all the pain and suffering being heaped upon them by a self-serving, non-caring cabal of despots. “That is why I will return to play my part in whatever way I can to take us from the tyranny. I am advised I need to be careful not to say when,” said Khama who moved to South Africa last year.