The recent exclusion of Botswana Democratic Party(BDP) secretary general, Botsalo Ntuane by party leadership from the list of Specially Elected Members of Parliament is said to have galvanised the anti-Masisi lobby in the party.
This happens a few months before the party’s elective congress next year in which Minister Nonofo Molefhi is expected to challenge the incumbent, Mokgweetsi Masisi. Indications are that when President Khama retires in 2018, Molefhi will challenge Masisi for the position of president. Media reports show that party leader President Ian Khama, overruled the party caucus and insisted on the nomination of little known Bogolo Kwenewendo and Mephato Reatile much to the chagrin of many BDP MPs who had lobbied for Ntuane as they believe he deserved recognition for the leadership he has provided to the party since he assumed the secretary general-ship in July last year in Mmadinare.
The nominations were an outcome of a recent controversial amendment of the Constitution increasing the number of SEMPS from four to six. “We rallied behind Masisi in large numbers inMmadinare because we did not want to embarrass him by voting somebody else for the chairman of the party. He was already the Vice President and had we denied him the support, he would have lost and that would have been a vote of no confidence on him. This would have compromised his chances of succeeding Khama as President of this country. The one thing he must remember is that, we had not even made him Vice President ourselves.”
By failing to defend Ntuane for nomination at the next year’s congress, said a former rabid Masisi supporter who preferred anonymity, the matter will not end there because Ntuane was “voted into the position of party secretary general by us,”. He said that although he has been known to be a Masisi supporter, should Molefhi enter the presidential race, “I intend to support him. We want to punch Masisi hard.”
Among the litany of Masisi’s transgressions is reported proclivity to work almost exclusively with new recruits especially from the opposition. “The fact that he surrounds himself with mainly rejects of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) is itself a vote of no confidence on all of us who have been loyal to the party. Since he does not have confidence in us, he must not expect us to support him for either the chairmanship or presidency of the party.
“For both these positions, we would rather rally behind Molefhi should it happen that he runs,” said the source who does not think it is difficult for Molefhi to topple Masisi considering Ntuane’s and Molefhi’s support at the Mmadinare congress last year where they got the highest numbers in the categories they contested. Ntuane beat his rival by a big margin while Molefhi, who stood for an additional member, was endorsed by the largest number of people in that category.
Indications are that the daggers are now out for Masisi. For instance, the BDP WatsApp and Facebook pages were awash with slogans such as Ko Kalakamate re nonofile (Loosely translated that, in Kalakamate we are strong) after the BDP beat the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in the Kalakamate by-election last week. The new councillor Zibani Mbalambi is said to be a Molefhi supporter. The slogan is also used to celebrate Molefhi’s popularity among his supporters.