It is now in the open that the battle for BDP Chairmanship between Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Development Nonofo Molefhi is a fierce one.
Following recent claims and reports that key Molefhi supporters are under surveillance, this publication has learnt that the Masisi camp is now threatening and putting pressure on various party structures to support the Vice President.
Those who have been intimidated and instructed to show respect by supporting Masisi in the coming elective congress in Tonota are councillors and members of the National Youth Executive Council (NYEC). It has emerged that As the race for Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top post gains momentum claims of underhand tactics by competing camps have emerged.
during a meeting held at a lodge in Mogoditshane with councillors from the Southern Region after the party’s National council the councillors were told to show their allegiance for the VP since he would be taking over as state President in April next year.
They were also reminded to embrace the Vice President because he is the one who came up with the initiative to have councillors receive P1 200 as housing allowance each month. This allowance is expected to assist councillors who have been commuting from far away areas to attend council business and had been relying on a P300. 00 subsistence allowance. It has however emerged that councillors are not happy with the allowance saying it is not enough.
This publication also understands that during a meeting with the councillors from the Central District Masisi’s team indicated that it would be uncalled for, if the councillors were to defy the party chairman and vote for someone else.
The meeting was held after the Vice President addressed the Central District, Full Council meeting. A councillor who attended the Tuesday meeting told this publication that they have been told to show respect for the chairman who will be taking over as party and country’s president next year.
The councillor said what was relayed at the Tuesday, meeting where they were treated for lunch in one of the hotels in Serowe was far from being a plea for a vote but rather an order. The councillors in Serowe were also reminded how the VP had put pressure and convinced cabinet to give them the P1 200.00 housing allowance.
During a Duma FM interview with Molefhi on Tuesday night a councillor told the presenter that Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Advocate Sadique Kebonang told the Councillors that they must vote for Masisi in July. The caller intimated that the tone and words used seemed to undermine internal party democracy that democrats should enjoy by supporting their candidate of choice.
Molefhi has however stated that he is not intimidated by any of these developments. He said it would be unfortunate to have had a BDP member luring for votes in that manner. The soft-spoken MP for Selibe Phikwe East also revealed that he is not intimidated by claims that he is under surveillance by Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services. Molefhi says the DISS has an office near his residential home. He explained that should any of his supporters have evidence to prove that they are under surveillance they should follow proper procedure and lodge complaints.
NYEC Chairman Simon Mavange Moabi dismissed claims that they have been ordered to support Masisi during their recent meeting with the Vice President at State House 2. “That is not true. As the new committee, we went there to present ourselves to him as the party chairman. We have extended the same to the party president,” he said. BDP Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane could neither confirm nor deny the claims about councillors’ intimidation.
He said until someone brings evidence to prove that something is not done right he treats the news as speculation especially regarding the Mogoditshane meeting. “BDP members meet from time to time formally and informally,” said Ntuane. On the DISS, Ntuane explained that the security agency has no business in BDP inner politics. He said as the BDP they do not condone that and the laws are very clear with regards to the mandate of DISS.
He warned BDP members that they must also be on the look out for imposters who may claim to be DISS agents. Masisi’s Secretary General candidate, Mpho Balopi would not comment as he said he was out of the country. Advocate Kebonang could not be reached as his mobile phone was off.
The tension between Masisi’s camp and Molefhi escalated at the National Council when more democrats came out in the open to show their allegiance for Molefhi. The members who donned party regalia emblazoned with pro-Molefhi slogans, caused an uproar on the first day of the council when Molefhi arrived at the venue.
This has also resulted in the BDP banning wearing of party regalia that could be construed to be campaign material. Ntuane stated that going forward the party would see how to deal with this matter to differentiate if the regalia is a campaign material or not.