MAUN:Alliance for Progressives (AP) Secretary General Dr Phenyo Butale says they are unfazed by talk doing the rounds suggesting that there has been a mass exodus of their members to the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in the North West region.
He says the party is not bothered by the recent defection of their deputy Secretary General, Moalosi Sebati, AP 2019 parliamentary candidate who was welcomed into the BDP fold by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi at a members-only meeting in Maun on Friday.
He noted that receiving a resignation from the latter was in fact a belated announcement which they have long awaited. This according to Butale is because Sebati has since after the 2019 general election not been an active member even though he held a higher position in the AP.
“What I know is that the party is still intact and so are our loyal members in Maun. As the party leadership we will be in Maun in no distant future as part of the AP’s nationwide tour aimed at interacting with our party structures”.
However, Sebati said he has not received resignation letters from any members apart from Sebati, which is why it still doesn’t make sense to him why numbers are said to have escalated to close to a thousand people as alleged by the BDP.
Quizzed on why the AP leadership had still not replaced Sebati even when he had made his exit apparent since the 2019 elections, Butale said they still wanted to follow their internal processes and couldn’t just dismiss him, despite him having absconded and disregarded his duties as DSG.
He said the other reason was because in their minds, Sebati was already non-existent and therefore did not interrupt their decision making in anyway.
Meanwhile Sebati told The Telegraph that he decided to end relations with the AP because of its leadership style which he says has lost its true identity and lacks direction more than anything. He noted that after leaving the BDP to join the opposition coalition, he later settled for AP which he preferred then because he believed its formation was based on principles and values of honesty, integrity, truth and justice.
This therefore meant it had set itself apart from other opposition parties already in existence and therefore could be seen as the only alternative to oust the BDP.
He added that the entire opposition still lacks commitment and seriousness to effect the change of government because party leaders have become dishonest and are just self-serving individuals hell bent on achieving their interests and satisfying their egos.
“This is evidence enough that shows that there is still no alternative to the BDP. President Masisi is a reliable leader who exercises internal party democracy. He consults with Batswana on policy issues and is even more transparent to the media as a motive to provide checks and balances to the government and the nation at large. The BDP is fairly stable and party business is conducted in a mature manner. I also believe in Masisi’s transformational agenda of restoring democratic ideals and promotion of transparency in governance,” he said.
Moalosi says he has defected with a number of people, amongst them the branch chairman and his Vice, Regional Secretary, committee members as well as campaign managers at almost all wards. He remains hopeful that other members will follow suit since him and other BDP members are now engaged in a massive recruitment drive with intention to lure all AP members in the region to the BDP.
On the same day, Masisi welcomed former AP candidate Baphutholodi Kgari who chickened out at the eleventh hour- just a few days before constituency parliamentary debates were held in Maun. The AP had successfully launched and fielded Kgari as its candidate and was supposed to challenge incumbent member of parliament for Maun East Goretetse Kekgonegile.But he dumped the party and was welcomed by UDC President Duma Boko at Kekgonegile’s official launch ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Kgari was initially a BDP member for years and was elected as Boseja ward councilor from 2004-2009. He lost during primary elections and left the party to be an independent candidate but also lost. A source close to him told this publication that he was convinced to re-join the ruling party by the then BDP chairman Guma Moyo and subsequently elected North West Regional Chairman. He tried his luck during the 2014 elections where he also lost at primary elections level and then left the party for AP. He has been a UDC member under Botswana Congress Party (BCP) ticket since 2019. “I have long made by intentions to leave the UDC clear. I wrote them a resignation letter in December 2020 and handed it over to the BCP office in Maun.
It is true that I left the AP at the last minute, and that decision was met because of financial constraints. But while at the UDC I felt so lost and remembered that my origins lie within the BDP. It is common everywhere and who said prodigal sons are not allowed back home? I am now here to stay and ready to assume whatever role given to me by the party. I also promise to work extremely hard with other regional party members to make sure the BDP retains Maun East”, said Kgari.