Family affairs within Botswana parliament

25 Oct 2009

In Botswana’s recent parliament, family ties, it seems, are the order of the day. What with the Khamas and the Saleshandos being the subject of interest in this year’s parliament.

At the very top is the Khama dynasty, personified by President Ian Khama whose father, Sir Seretse Khama, was the founding father of the republic of Botswana and the country’s first president.

The current president also has his younger brother, Tshekedi Khama, by his side in parliament. Tshekedi was handpicked by his brother to succeed him as Member of Parliament for Serowe North West constituency last year while he went to fill a position that was once their father’s.

Tshekedi was unchallenged in the BDP primary elections in Serowe, where the Khama family has its royal stronghold.
Ramadeluka Seretse, who retained his seat in parliament and the Ministry of Justice, Defence and Security, is apparently a cousin to both Khama and Tshekedi. Ramadeluka’s last name says it all.

Meanwhile, Dumelang Saleshando retained his Gaborone Central parliamentary seat. In addition, Dumelang’s father, Gilson Saleshando, also won a parliamentary seat for Selebi-Phikwe West, making history as they became the first father and son to sit in the parliament of Botswana at the same time.

The Saleshandos are both dedicated members of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), a party that was formed ten years ago when the Botswana National Front (BNF) split.

Gilson is also the BCP president, while his son is the party’s publicity secretary.

Gilson has been to parliament before in 1994-1999, as an opposition MP but under the BNF party flag. Dumelang has been the MP for Gaborone central for the past 5 years and continues to represent the constituency. He is no longer the only BCP MP, as his father and two others under the party flag have joined him.

Another family under the BDP ticket has also made it to parliament, Tshelang Masisi of Francistown West and Mokgweetsi Masisi of Moshopa also seem to have politics running through their blood veins. The two are blood brothers.

The younger of the two, Mokgweetsi Masisi, has also been appointed in President Khama’s new cabinet as Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration.