In what is seen as intensifying political discord within the ruling Botswana Democratic Party as commercial interests and political succession play out, a cabinet level decision has been made to withdraw Boyce Sebetela as deputy chairman of the Council at BIUST (Botswana International University of Science and Technology).
Sebetela was sacked from the BIUST Council last week. It is not clear when cabinet took the decision.
Also not clear is if it was a decision by full cabinet.
Two sources familiar with Sebetela’s sacking from the BIUST Council have independently confirmed the decision.
A former minister, Sebetela is one of the people who have made it known his ambitions to challenge for the leadership of the BDP when that opportunity comes in 2019.
He currently works as an executive responsible for strategy at the Debswana diamond Company.
The sacking of Sebetela will easily be seen as the flexing of muscle by those in cabinet who view his ambitions as a potential threat to their own ambitions.
Current Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi is a natural contender for the presidency.
Sebetela has previously served as acting Chairman of BIUST Council before another BDP politician, Bernard Bolele was appointed on a substantive basis.
But there are also commercial interests at play.
As BIUST acting chairman, Sebetela will be best remembered for a brave decision he took to turn down a proposal by Choppies Enterprises to build staff houses and student hostels inside the campus for rent to the university.
This was particularly brave by Sebetela given that former Festus Mogae is also the Vice Chancellor of BIUST.
Mogae is one of the third biggest individual shareholder at Choppies.
Mogae is known to be close to Bolele.
This has raised fears that getting rid of Sebetela might pave the way to retable the Choppies proposal.
Increasingly the Choppies Group is seen as holding disproportionate sway ÔÇô politically and economically over many of the country’s institutions and leaders, a development that has been raising alarm among some quarters that what is happening in South Africa where there are complaints of state capture by a family of Indian extraction there is also playing out here under a different guise.
Assistant Minister of Trade, Sadique Kebonang is a direct nominal associate at Choppies.
In South Africa there is a public outcry over the extent to which the Guptas have managed to infiltrate and manipulate all many of the state agencies in that country, including the presidency.