Tuesday, September 29, 2020

A wounded Pheto faces fresh battles against a Magang

Lesang Magang has confirmed that he has applied to the ruling party Central Committee to be allowed to contest the Kweneng East primary elections.
If his application is successful, he is likely to take the incumbent Member of Parliament, Moeng Pheto, head-on.

For all the trappings of incumbency, the duel comes at a time when Pheto is till smarting from a devastating blow delivered by President Ian Khama a month ago when, against all expectations, he dropped Pheto from cabinet.
Those close to Pheto say he has still not recovered from the effects of being dropped from cabinet.

A former army General, Moeng Pheto is the only soldier in parliament not to have made it into Khama’s cabinet ÔÇô a closely wrought ragtag controlled and dominated by an excessively proud clique of former army men.

“Naturally, he (Pheto) feels sidelined and isolated. He is the only person from the army who has been left out of cabinet. It is a huge vote of no confidence in him by President Khama with whom he has worked from their days in the army,” said a ruling party member of parliament.

Pheto inherited Kweneng East from David Magang, Lesang’s father, on a silver platter when Magang quit politics a few years ago.

It is a sign of the rough patch on which Pheto is currently traversing that the goodwill he enjoyed at the time, especially from the Magang family, seems to have evaporated.

It is a known fact that the former army General has, of late, been pleading with the senior Magang to prevail on the young Lesang to back off for a further five years.

Sadly for Pheto, David Magang has not budged, insisting that Lesang was now a fully grown up man competent enough to make own decisions about his future.
Lesang Magang left politics in 2000, at the height of his popularity.
He had declined nomination to re-contest the National Chairmanship of the ruling party youth wing.

He chose to concentrate all his energies on the family business, Phakalane Estates, which he says was undergoing a bruising turbulence.

But pundits interpreted his immediate exit from active politics as a calculated retreat to make amends for his transgressions.

In what was a sign of his youthful exuberance at the time, the young Magang had gone on record to criticize the inexplicable sabbatical leave that had been extended the then Vice President Ian Khama by President Festus Mogae.
Then as now, it was a taboo inside the Botswana Democratic Party to criticise Ian Khama who had just been catapulted into the high command as a saviour to douse then raging fires of factional hell.

In an interview this week, Magang downplayed the significance of his political comeback.

“I am a political animal, through and through. I made it very clear at the time that I had to leave politics for a while because Phakalane was going through a crisis. If I stayed in politics, Phakalane would have gone under, so would have had my political career. And the people I now want to represent would have had every reason to question my ability,” he said.
He says he rejoins Phakalane at a time when the viability of Phakalane is irreproachable.

“And my younger brother has joined the company as a co-Managing Director. So he can run with the business as a focus on my passion of politics.”

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The Telegraph September 30

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 30, 2020.