Barata-Phathi members have taken the battle to President Ian Khama by telling him they will not be resigning their seats.
Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD)’s spokesperson, Sidney Pilane, has instead challenged Khama to call snap elections.
Pilane was responding to remarks made by Khama at a rally he addressed in Francistown over the weekend.
At the Francistown rally, Khama challenged all MPs and councillors associated with BMD to resign their seats and make way for a by-election.
However, speaking to The Telegraph, Pilane said that MPs sympathetic to the new party will relocate with their council and parliamentary seats because they were voted in their own right as capable individuals.
“The electorate is not made of BDP members alone,” stated Pilane. “So it cannot be claimed that only members of the BDP voted; the seats belong to the people and not to any political party.”
He said, unlike Khama, the councillors and MPs who were elected can point at many different people that voted for them.
“We accept his challenge, he must call elections to test his own popularity,” he said.
“We send the challenge back to him,” he added.
“We know he will not accept the challenge, if he calls elections we will win many other seats which are in the hands of the A-Team,” said Pilane.
He said that as expected, Khama had used the rally to engage in personal attack. He said that the BDP weekend rally had confirmed to many that the BDP is not interested in addressing issues of substance.
“We will not respond to them,” he said. Pilane stated that Khama had told those who attended untruths by saying that Barata-Phathi had colluded with the opposition Botswana National Front (BNF).
He said that it was also interesting that people at the Francistown BDP massive rally were not allowed to either ask questions or comment. He said that this was so because had questions been poised the speakers would have been unable to answer them in a ‘credible fashion’ adding that comments would have exposed the party leadership for what it is.
In a separate interview, Kgatleng West MP, Gilbert Mangole, said that he would not resign at Khama’s behest.
“The person who is saying that has all the powers to call snap elections,” said Mangole.
Francistown South’s Wynter Mmolotsi said that it would be absurd for him to give up his seat yet when the BDP welcomed Peter Ngoma from the Botswana People’s Party (BPP) it never requested him to give up his council seat back to the BPP.
Tshelang Masisi said that nobody could push Barata-Phathi to surrender their seats.
“Nobody is entitled to force me to resign; I will only resign if I am not interested.”
Contacted for comment Gaborone West South MP, Botsalo Ntuane, dismissed the whole thing as a non starter.
“The BDP has over the years benefited from defections from the opposition. They never complained. They have no basis to complain now when other parties exploit the same constitutional provision. The chickens are coming home to roost,” said Ntuane.
“It must be understood that I was elected by the people, it’s only them who can tell me what to do,” Tati East’s Guma Moyo said.