Monday, December 4, 2023

BDP pushes back against Khama’s “political designs”

Former President, Lt gen Ian Khama’s philanthropic donations have raised red flags inside the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) that his charitable giving is an undercover bid for political influence.

The BDP Central Committee will tomorrow (Monday) debate Khama’s nationwide charity work following complaints by some party members that the former president has deployed philanthropy as a strategy to help political campaigns by his supporters ahead of the party Bulela Ditswe primary elections next week.

BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi confirmed to the Sunday standard that the party had received several complaints against Khama’s charity work which will be tabled at tomorrow’s central committee meeting.

Nine days after stepping down as Botswana’s fourth President, Khama announced on his Facebook page that, “I had indicated that after leaving the Presidency I would be engaged in a number of activities where I would continue to assist the disadvantaged members of our communities. In this regard I shall be doing so through the National Housing Appeal and Lady Khama Charitable Trust (L.K.C.T). For those who seek assistance or know others who may seek assistance, they can contact the National Housing Appeal for provision of housing for the needy at Extension 11 President’s drive plot number: 3121 TEL:3956121. In addition to this they can contact LKCT for assistance with regards to needy children, orphans or any general charitable assistance at Gaborone International Commerce Park, plot 49 unit 3. TEL: 3924501 We will use this site to update you on other activities.”

Since then, the former president has been traversing the lengths and breadth of Botswana donating food hampers and blankets. A section of the BDP is however reading a sinister motive on to his charity drive. That the former president who has been approached to contest the party position for chairman is using charity as a political device.

The Sunday Standard can reveal that Masisi’s close circle has received intelligence information that a clique of BDP leaders some in cabinet are trying to deploy their allies in parliamentary constituencies and to de-campaign Masisi’s loyalists so as to erode the president’s base in parliament. 

On ascending the presidency on April 1 this year, Masisi inherited a deeply criminalised government and his attempts to decriminalize it are being fiercely resisted by senior BDP figures who fear that the net is closing in on them as the new president wages a massive anti-corruption crusade. Such crusade is so extensive that some ministers are said to be subjects of criminal investigations being undertaken by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime. An anti-Masisi faction, with tentacles that reach as far as parliament and cabinet itself, has emerged from within the BDP itself. Its short-term goal is to resist Masisi’s aggressive reform agenda and its long-term one is to oust him as the party presidential candidate for the 2019 general election. Opposition Umbrella For Democratic Change operatives have reportedly been roped in to help get rid of Masisi under the guise of doing legitimate opposition politics by using legitimate parliamentary and legal processes. In the case of the MP in question, this plot takes the form of him using parliament as a launching pad to attack, armed with information supplied by his BDP handlers and working towards ousting Masisi from office.

Some UDC activists have long suspected this MP of having DISS links. In one instance, he is said to have repeated verbatim to a closed WhatsApp group, the actual words that an opponent of his had used in a telephone conversation with a party colleague. Opposition leaders themselves know that their phones are tapped but the reproduction of the telephone conversation was circumstantial evidence that the MP in question had had access to the intercepted communication. UDC activists also worry a lot about the suspicious closeness between this MP and figures that played a key role in the demise of both BMD and UDC.

Having compromised himself by receiving huge sums of money as payment for his services, this MP is vulnerable to manipulation and according to a source, is now under “tremendous pressure” to deliver the goods. Failure to do so exposes him grave consequences, which include exposing him as punishment.

President Masisi has also told a press conference that he was aware of the alleged plot to oust him, but indicated that he was not worried. Former President Khama on the other hand has indicated that his relationship with the current president has broken down.


Read this week's paper