- Old BPP comrades dismiss him as newcomer
- ‘I will contest the Presidency if members desire’- Moswaane
- Kgafela -Mokoka, Prof Bulawa favourites
Peace is eluding Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) ahead of an elective congress, fuelled by Francistown West MP Ignatius Moswaane’s ambition to contest the party presidency.
BPP central committee held the meeting last weekend to deliberate on the upcoming congress, as mushrooming factions threaten Botswana’s oldest political party.
Information gathered by this publication is that plans are underway by some old cadres in the party to frustrate party President Motlatsi Molapise in his support for Moswaane. The maverick Francistown legislator joined the BPP after he ditched the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) last year following a fallout with the party leadership that led to his suspension for 60 days. Moswaane joined the BPP over other Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) contracting partners after he was recruited by Molapisi. He is currently the only MP for BPP, after the party struggled to win a Parliamentary seat for decades. Allegations are that Moswaane agreed to join BPP on the condition that he will be given the presidency. But, such a deal has been met with a lot of resistance within the BPP.
BPP Publicity Secretary Dr Nono Kgafela- Mokoka confirmed the central committee meeting, saying they have resolved to start with a Youth League and a Women’s League congresses before the main party congress. She said like any other member of the BPP, Moswaane has a right to contest any position he desires. She accused members who are trying to block Moswaane as the ones causing factions in the party. Further, Dr Kgafela-Mokoka said the Central Committee also resolved to name the party headquarters in Francistown after BPP co-founder Phillip Matante.
In an interview on Thursday, Moswaane said time will tell if he contests for the BPP presidency. He said his interest is not more on the presidency but if a need arises he will stands for the seat. “I am member of the UDC as an MP of the coalition under BPP constituency. I am more focused on helping the party to grow but I am available for the leadership if people insist that I stand for BPP presidency. I don’t have any problems with anyone in BPP regarding my presence,” he said.
Asked about his reception into the party, the outspoken MP said he feels at home. Moswaane said he was welcomed warmly by the BPP and UDC’s leadership respectively. He reiterated that there will always be a way of politicking in any political organization but that doesn’t mean that if he is challenged in the BPP reflects that he is not wanted by the members. “I’m a politician who always put people’s interests first and that’s why I normally differ with my political colleagues. I believe there is never going to be a political party without interest of people,” he added.
Sources close to developments say the bromance between Moswaane and the outgoing BPP’s veteran leader Molapise who is the Chairman of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has divided the party. “There is a strong resistance for MP Moswaane to be contesting for the party presidency within some members including from the central committee. The members’ point of contention is that he (Moswaane) should not come into the party and want to be at the forefront while he is stills new. But he is enjoying lot of support from the party president and his inner circle,” said a source.
Those in the know say the BPP president Molapisi is at loggerheads with some of members who are against his some ongoing kind of endorsement for Moswaane to be his preferred successor. To that end, it is said some of the key BPP members who are considered to be favorites to lead the party include its Secretary General Professor Bulawa and Dr Kgafela- Mokoka. Both Bulawa and Kgafela- Mokoka joined the BPP after defecting from Botswana Congress Party (BCP).
It was anticipated that the road for Moswaane to be BPP presidency will be easier after his long term political nemesis in Francistown West constituency, Lenyatso Mbaakanyi left BPP. Mbaakanyi who is the former party vice president jumped ship few months after Moswaane arrived.
At a time of his departure, BPP supporters of Mbaakanyi who had contested for parliamentary seat against Moswaane in 2019 elections blamed his departure on Molapisi. This came after the opinionated Mbaakanyi was once suspended from the party by Molapisi. Prior to 2019 elections, BPP suspended Mbaakanyi but he disregarded the party’s decision as he continued with contesting the elections and he was the only 2019 UDC candidate who wasn’t launched. “Political organisations have a way of running their affairs. And as a politician and member of a certain party if things are not going the way I would have loved then I have to leave to avoid the unnecessary arguments. Some will enjoy the way things are done and others wouldn’t,’’ Mbaakanyi said at the time.