Wednesday, November 30, 2022

BDP working on dismantling BMD

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is on course to dismantle its offshoot, the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) with the newly elected Chairman Samson Guma Moyo promising President Ian Khama that he would engage in a massive recruitment drive targeting primarily dozens of BMD members.

In an interview with The Telegraph on Sunday evening in Maun, after defeating the Minister of Education and Development Skill, Pelonomi Venson Moitoi┬á with 467 votes to Moitoi’s 402 votes, the former BMD Treasurer expressed confidence that if recruiting members from the BMD is a serious challenge, he is ready for it.

“Life on its own is a challenge, but we cannot fold our arms and say there is nothing that we can do. I believe that I will take the challenge head on to ensure that I lure BMD members to rejoin the BDP,” he said.

On suggestion that there are some BMD prominent members who could be difficult to convince to retrace their steps to the BDP, such as BMD secretary general Wynter Mmolotsi, President Gomolemo Motswaledi, Guma laughed off the suggestion saying he was not targeting the leadership of the party but its members.

“I’m not after the leadership of the BMD but its members. I believe and I’m confident that they will lend me their ears and switch sides,” he said.

When delivering his acceptance speech on Saturday evening at Maun Senior Secondary School, Guma apologised to Khama to have defected from the BDP and become one of the founders of the BMD when the party split in 2010. 

“I thank President Ian Khama to have given me a second chance to serve the party and the nation. I believe I will find space in your heart,” said Guma and then repeated his apology to Khama.

“I will seek permission from the President to allow me to lead the BDP campaigns for the next general elections so that the party could clinch 57 constituencies at the general elections,” he said.┬á

Guma pleaded with democrats to give Khama the support that he deserves.

“We know that Batswana want a lot of change from us. We must assist this President because he alone cannot run the government and the party,” said Guma.┬á He believes that the party is united as ever, adding that factions within the party would be a thing of the past.

Meanwhile, when welcoming the new central committee, Khama said he believes that it will be as united as ever ahead of the upcoming BDP primary elections or Bulela Ditswe.

“I saw Mma Venson-Moitoi hugging Guma Moyo after the results were announced. I believe that same spirit will prevail during Bulela Ditswe,” said Khama.

Guma’s team almost scooped everything on offer with Secretary General Mpho Balopi retaining his position as he got 583 to Isaac Seloko and Philip Makgalemele’s┬á 203 and 51 votes, respectively.┬á

Malebogo Kruger garnered 457 votes to former High Court Judge Unity Dow and former youth leader Bontsi Monare’s 91 and 260 votes, respectively.┬á Long time BDP treasure and business magnate, Satar Dada, was unchallenged for his position while Khama’s ally, Thapelo Olopeng, was voted Dada’s Deputy. Olopeng defeated incumbent Kagiso Mmusi with 476 votes while Mmusi got 275.┬á Mmapula Phudhudu, Victor Motobake, Lesego Raditanka and Abel Molelo were elected as additional members.

Khama directly nominated former Vice President Mompati Merafhe, and incumbent VP Ponanatsego Kedikilwe to the Central Committee in an endeavour to guide the party and bring a sense of stability.

Others nominated by Khama are Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Botlogile Tshireletso, Chairperson of Women’s wing Caroline Lesang, Tebatso Lekalake┬áand a councillor from Kgalagadi District a certain Manthe.

Venson Moitoi, who could have made history as the first woman to become the BDP chairperson, told journalists after the results were announced that she accepted them despite some murmurs of disapproval from her team.

While BDP lawyer Parks Tafa told The Telegraph in an interview that the elections were run smoothly some members of Venson-Moitoi’s team said the scales were tilted in favour of Guma’s team as President Khama, in his official opening speech at the Congress, showered Guma and Balopi with praises, something that they believed signalled the death kernel for their team.

There is even wild speculation by the same team that President Khama issued a directive instructing Ministers to inform the delegates to support Guma’s team.

“Only four Cabinet Ministers among them Christian De Graaff, Peter Siele and John Swaartz were not part of those who were ordered to instruct their delegates to vote for Guma’s team,” claimed a Venson-Moitoi diehard.

But Tafa defended the elective congress saying: “This is the best congress we had. The delegates were campaigning fairly; it was not a smear campaign.”

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