Venson emerges as favourite to replace Kwelagobe as BDP Chairman
by Sunday Standard Reporter
The Minister of Education, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, has emerged as a frontrunner to replace Daniel Kwelagobe who has since made it known that he will not be availing himself for consideration at the next elective congress of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party, which is due in July next year.
In a recent interview, Kwelagobe said he would be happy to serve as an ordinary member of the BDP Central Committee.
A BDP Secretary General for 27 years before becoming National Chairman, Kwelagobe has said he is slowly reducing his role in the party to that of an advisor.
Although she has recently not been a member of the BDP Central Committee, Venson-Moitoi is counted as one of the most influential and powerful strategists with direct and unrestricted access to President Ian Khama.
When the BDP was marooned by a split that almost brought it to its knees, Venson-Moitoi was among the few people who took it upon themselves to come up with strategies to counter the impact that Botswana Movement for Democracy was having on the BDP.
With the express authority of President Khama, she assembled a team of intellectuals, public relations practitioners and change managers and empowered them to come up with ways to save the BDP.
The strategy was, however, short-lived as it attracted envy from the BDP subcommittee responsible for information whose members felt she was usurping their mandate.
Other than serving as a minister for a long stretch, Venson-Moitoi has in the past served in the position of deputy secretary general under Kwelagobe, her political ally who one BDP insider said was also a political Siamese twin.
When contacted, Ms Venson-Moitoi could only say she had been contacted to stand but is yet to make a decision on whether or not to take the challenge.
“It is important to make it clear that I have not lobbied anyone. I have been approached and I am seriously considering,” she said.
While other people had mentioned Member of Parliament for Tati East Samson Moyo Guma as a potential candidate, he has ruled himself out, saying assuming the position has not even crossed his mind.
“I am not interested. I have not even thought about it. It is not correct,” said Moyo Guma.
Another name that has so far crossed the radar is that of former Minister Jacob Nkate.
Nkate left parliament after losing the Ngami parliamentary constituency to the opposition Botswana National Front. He had earlier served as BDP Secretary General, a position that he left after President Ian Khama had said he would not allow ministers to also serve in the BDP executive committee.