Khama, Ntuane: from sworn enemies to mutual political bedfellows
by Edgar Tsimane
Botsalo Ntuane never had a problem with the policies of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). The one problem that gave him sleepless nights at the ruling party was the captain steering the BDP ship who is none other than President Ian Khama.
That problem has been resolved.
Both Khama and Ntuane now understand each other and, put differently, they need each other like never before.
President Ian Khama and the former Leader of Opposition Ntuane have sealed their political marriage of convenience and they are now no strange bedfellows.
Ntuane did not shock the nation by his resignation from the BMD a few days ago. His has long been seen coming. Ntuane had ever since his first meeting with President Khama in his capacity as Leader of Opposition, gotten too friendly with the BDP to the liking of his comrades in arms at the BMD. They hoped what they were seeing unfolding before their eyes was not the reality they would have to come to terms with in the foreseeable future.
How did President Khama win Ntuane’s heart?
“Ntuane told His Excellency the President he has no problem with the BDP but the way he [Khama] runs the party. The President conceded to most issues raised by Ntuane. The President then said to Ntuane. ‘Hey you know what? You can’t run the party through the media. Why should central committee decisions be in the media before they reach the party’?” said the BDP Secretary for Communications and International Relations, MacDonald Peloetletse.
He said that both Khama and Ntuane now understand each other and have reconciled.
“Ntuane as a result sees no reason to continue with the BMD,” said Peloetletse.
The BMD was formed after some members of a faction called Barata-Phathi held that Khama was running the party unilaterally with a little help from a coterie of close friends and relatives.
Peloetletse has dismissed allegations that Ntuane has been “bought” like everyone else before him who has since rejoined the BDP - the likes of businessman Guma Moyo, Member of Parliament for Shoshong Philip Makgalemele, and that of Mogoditshane’s Patrick Masimolole.
“Given the prevailing circumstances, and out of respect to the BMD and its Umbrella Partners of the BNF (Botswana National Front) and BPP [Botswana Peoples Party], I intend neither to address a press conference nor conduct media interviews on this subject (rejoining the BDP),” Ntuane declared.
If an online poll run by the Sunday Standard is anything to go by, then Ntuane’s departure from the BMD may have serious repercussions for the BMD and the Umbrella.
Before Ntuane resigned from the BMD, an overwhelming majority of respondents to the Sunday Standard online question: “Is the decision by BCP not to participate in the Umbrella negotiations a good decision?” said no while about one fifth said yes. By Friday the results were neck and neck.