President Ian Khama has bowed to pressure from Cabinet ministers and granted them leave to campaign for the primary elections. Sources close to the presidency have revealed that the leave commences on the 11th of this month and is expected to end when Parliament reconvene in November.
The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is expected to hold primary elections on the 2nd of November for constituencies North of Dibete and on the 9th of November for constituencies South of Dibete.
The source revealed that ministers had complained that their rivals were de – campaigning them and capitalising on their persistent absence in their constituencies. “Khama had to bow to their pressure and released them but they have been told that they will be summoned to their duties as need arises,” he said.
Government spokesperson, Dr Jeff Ramsay told Sunday Standard that as far as he knows ministers have been allowed to visit their constituencies every Thursdays and Fridays of every week but could not confirm when the dispensation will end.
“It is a courtesy to their constituency, but that doesn’t mean that Cabinet is on leave,” he stressed.
Some ministers who are said to be feeling pressure is the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Mokgweetsi Masisi. His competitor, Bobby Tlhabiwe is reported to be making strong inroads in the constituency in the persistent absence of the minister.
Another minister who is said to be on slippery ground is Peter Siele who is contesting against Dr. Alfred Madigele and Diane Gopolang. It is reported that Madigele may cause an upset in the constituency.
Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Dr. Gloria Somolekae will fight for Mmadinare constituency against Kefentse Mzwinila, former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Serwalo Tumelo and Christopher Lejowa.
In Mahalapye East, assistant minister of Local Government, Botlogile Tshireletso will slug it out with Neo Magowe, Ernest Nthobelang, Diphetogo Lekgoanyana and Moiteela Moganana.
In Serowe North, Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Dikgakgamatso Seretse will face his long time rival Kgotla Autlwetse.
Khama’s brother, Tshekedi Khama who is the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism will face Bontlogetse Kgwaneng in Serowe North West.
In Serowe South, Minister of Education and Skills Development, Pelonomi Venson- Moitoi will face off with former Radio Botswana presenter, Sefane Phuthego and Richard Bagwasi.
Minister of Lands and Housing Lebonaamang Mokalake will face Sethomo Lelatisitswe and Oboetswe Gabotlale in Boteti- East.
In Tlokweng, former Botswana National Front (BNF) vice president, Olebile Gaborone who is also the assistant minister of Local Government, will fight for his seat against Elijah Katse.
Assistant Minister of Education, Patrick Masimolole will face Baolwetse Otisitswe for Mogoditshane constituency.
In Thamaga-Kumakwane, Minister of Health, Dr. John Seakgosing will face Tshenolo Mabeo, Thato Tsumake and Driver Motlogelwa.
Assistant minister of health, Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri is up against Kabo Sebele in Molepolole North.
In Letsweletau- Mmopane, assistant minister of Finance and Development Planning, Vincent Seretse is pitted against Moeng Pheto, Sarah Sithabile and Reuben Mokopaina.
In Ghanzi North, Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Johnie Swartz will face youthful former Botswana Television (Btv) presenter, Gregory Losibe while in Ghanzi South, Minister of Agriculture, Christian De Graaf will face Edward Stanley.
Another interesting battle is expected in Sefhare- Ramokgonami, where two Cabinet ministers will face each other. Dorcus Makgatho- Malesu of Trade and Industry is expected to face the assistant minister of Agriculture, Oreeditse Molebatsi, Dr. Motsamai Seraga, Ngakaemang Kewell, Seloma Kitso and Tshekiso Monyatsi.