Botswana People’s Party’s (BPP) secretary general Venter Geletshabiwe says there is no hope for suspended party chairperson Richard Gudu and his partner in crime, Peter Kuchwe if they do not crawl back to the party leadership and beg for forgiveness.
Both men have always maintained their innocence and said they would not apologise for a wrong they did not commit. They said they only attended the UDC press conference as bona fide partners in their personal capacities like any other executive party member continues to do up to date. Galetshabiwe told Botswana Guardian in a telephone interview that the only time that the two can be forgiven or excused from internal disciplinary hearing is when they apologise to the party leadership. “If they apologise then we can be rest assured that the people we are going to be working with are with us all the way but by just letting it go we’d be sending out a wrong message to the party followers that the constitution can be trampled. By not apologising, they are literally squeezing a rope around their necks slowly,” he said.
Despite the party’s stance, the disciplinary case is allegedly tearing the party apart due to an internal power struggle within the executive fuelled by some executive members’ desires to represent the party at Tati East and Tati West constituencies.
When Gudu and Co. were suspended from party activities last year, one could have expected the party executive to have dealt with the matter promptly but it was never to be as they were only called for a hearing after the prescribed number of days despite that the two had argued that the duration taken by the executive to drag them was past hence they cried out that it was unconstitutional.
On the other hand, the party’s spokesperson Galetshabiwe maintained that the suspension letters of the two did not have any validity period.
When the two first appeared for their disciplinary hearing, the board did not form a quorum only for the case to resume this time around under board Chairperson Leonard Mantswe. In his findings, it was discovered that the case with Kuchwe did not have a complainant whereas Gudu was never invited for the hearing save through SMS which forced the board chairperson to dismiss it.
An inside source at BPP has revealed that most in the party leadership are of the view that Gudu is an old furniture who need to be replaced with some power hungry “Mafikizolo’s”(newcomers). The source continued that the aim of the party is not to discipline the two but to thwart their efforts to represent the party at Tati East and West constituencies at which they represented BPP under the Umbrella coalition in 2014.
“Currently, the problem comes from the party secretary general and the vice president who expressed their interest to do so. They are busy selling themselves to the electorate whilst Gudu and Kuchwe are barred. Looking at the circumstances surrounding the whole disciplinary hearing one would see that there is witch-hunt since the two did not commit so grave a crime to warrant the present treatment unless of course the party no longer wants them for personal reasons,” the executive member disclosed.
What angers him most is that some people within the party leadership want to satisfy their egos at the expense of the party. In fact BPP Vice President Mbaakanyi Lenyatso has admitted in a recent interview with Botswana Guardian of his democratic right to stand for election at any constituency his party has been allocated.
Last week, the two attended a disciplinary hearing whose verdict will be released in two to three weeks or even beyond. Asked why the party decided to drag the matter despite that it was once thrown out by a disciplinary board for non-compliance with the party constitution, Geletshabiwe revealed that those who have the tendency to do as they please should be brought to book irrespective of whether they have been in the party for a very long time or not.
When quizzed as to what it would take to bury the hatchet between the two opposing camps, Geletshabiwe did not hide the party’s displeasure as he said that what is standing between Gudu, Kuchwe and BPP is for the two to apologise rather than squeezing the rope tightly around their necks.