Former Member of Parliament Daniel Kwelagobe was conspicuously absent at the just ended Special Congress of the Botswana Democratic Party.
Some of the party activists that attended were overheard discussing the reasons for Kwelagobe’s absence at what turned out to be an auspicious party event, especially with regard to the amount of money raised at the event.
Millions of Pula were pledged.
Kwelagobe served the BDP as Secretary General for a continuous period of twenty seven years.
Before his retirement in 2014, he had been a Member of Parliament for forty-five years under the BDP ticket.
He had also served as minister for all of Botswana’s first four Heads of state.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Kwelagobe said he had not been invited to the Special Congress.
A decorated politician, he said he is not a member of any party organ and could thus not attend a Congress unless by invitation.
“I had an option to just come in as a tourist. But I am a party elder. I could not just walk in as a tourist. Having received no invitation I stayed at home,” said Kwelagobe.
Sounding gracious enough not to make his none-invitation a big issue, Kwelagobe said maybe it was “just a mistake” or “inexperience” on the part of the current Secretary General.
But he hinted that the Central Committee could still have advised the secretary General.
“People are right to ask why it that those of us who spent a lifetime recruiting people to join the BDO all of a sudden are nowhere to be seen once we no longer hold positions. And we also do not feel right when it looks like we have abandoned our party. I love the BDP. I have worked long and for the BDP. And I will never turn my back on it,” he said.
David Magang, another BDP veteran who served at around the same time like Kwelagobe said he was invited to the special congress.
“I received a call from one of the officers at the office,” said Magang.
One of Botswana’s foremost businessmen, Magang said it was a surprise to him that Kwelagobe could not get an invitation to the party event.
Magang however said he did not make any pledges because he was not advised beforehand that big money was going to be pledged.
“I am a family man. I would not make such kind of pledges without first talking to Mrs. Magang,” the former cabinet Minister said before bursting into laughter.
A Kwelagobe loyalist who attended the Congress said it is possible that Kwelagobe was not invited because the Special Congress was more of a fundraiser than anything else.
“Our BDP has become the party of the rich. I doubt those in charge of it today have any for people like Kwelagobe who are not millionaires,” she said.
It was a statement made in jest, but true nonetheless.