Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama has become the latest entrant into the already crowded field of ruling party members who will be contesting the position of National Chairman at the party’s elective Congress in July.
Whoever becomes party Chairman has an added head-start over others to ultimately become President or at least have a say on who becomes president when the incumbent, Ian Khama retires in 2018.
Tshekedi Khama is the younger brother to Ian Khama; the two are sons of the founding President, the late Sir Seretse Khama.
Tshekedi Khama’s candidature has rattled a few feathers inside the Botswana Democratic Party, not least because it has raised suspicions that he enjoys the blessings of his older brother.
“It is unlikely that he would stand if he did not have the blessing of his older brother. It seems there is something intricate happening,” said a BDP insider.
It has further created suspicions that by allowing him to contest for the position of Chairman, Ian Khama is putting his younger brother through the paces in preparation for the top job.
Tshekedi is currently a Member of Parliament for Serowe North West.
Other contenders for the position of BDP National Chairman are Ndelu Seretse, a first cousin to the Khamas.
Seretse is the immediate past minister for Defence, Justice and Security.
Yet another contender who has confirmed that they will be running is Tebelelo Seretse.
Tebelelo Seretse was until recently Botswana’s Ambassador to Washington. Before then she served as cabinet Minister.
She was recalled from Washington before she could complete her tour but by which time her ambitions to take over the party had already hatched.
Information reaching The Telegraph indicates that Ndelu and Tebelelo have been engaged in marathon negotiations aimed at convincing one another to make way for the other.
So far the negotiations have not yielded much fruits with each of the contenders entrenched in their conviction that they are the right material to become the Chairman of the party.
The arrival of Tshekedi into the picture is no doubt poised to be a game changer.
Observers are already beginning to ask themselves questions of what, if anything Tshekedi Khama’s entry into the race for the party’s frontline politics would mean for the current Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, until now a presumed heir apparent.
Masisi might yet prove the biggest political casualty of Tshekedi’s arrival.
Beside the patronage he enjoys from the intelligence services, Masisi does not as yet have a political foothold inside the Botswana Democratic Party.
He is likely to be persuaded not to contest and make way for Tshekedi.
If he insists on contesting, he risks defeat which alone might put him on an even shaky political future.