Friday, May 20, 2022

DK romps to victory

Botswana Democratic Party chairman, Daniel Kwelagobe, led the Kedikilwe/Kwelagobe faction to a resounding victory over the Nkate/Merafhe faction during the highly contested BDP central committee elections at the party’s national congress in Kanye on Monday.
 
Kwelagobe‘s win was the culmination of a tense and divisive national campaign which pitted the national chairman against President Ian Khama in a bruising battle that saw the BDP tittering on the brink of collapse. The president had at the party national council in April sent an ultimatum to BDP members to choose between central committee and cabinet positions.
Before that, party veteran and BDP think tank Raphael Dingalo, fighting from the A-team’s corner, was engaged in a bitter public spat with barata-phathi pugilist Kabo Morwaeng over the issue of whether the BDP should hold central committee elections in the same year as general elections. Perhaps as a sign that barata-phathi were smelling blood, they were baying for elections and calling all those who were for the postponement of elections undemocratic.
In the end, Morwaeng was hauled before the central committee for using unbecoming language.
 
Kwelagobe would later lead the barata-phathi onslaught, defying president Khama’s ultimatum and declaring that it was every democrat’s constitutional right to stand for elections whenever they want. In the end he was dropped from cabinet, a decision which caused uproar in the national political circles, with many saying that president Khama’s carrot and stick shenanigans were a desecration of the BDP’s democratic principles.
 
This boosted the barata-phathi campaign and Kwelagobe, followed by young and agile foot-soldiers in Gomolemo Motswaledi, Wynter Mmolotsi and Botsalo Ntuane, toured the length and breath of the country campaigning on the back of the sanctity of the constitution.
DK, an able grassroots operator with a knack for being in tangent with the pulse of the ordinary man, portrayed himself as the sacrificial lamb who had forgone the comforts of a ministerial portfolio in defense of democracy and the constitution of the BDP.
 
Seeing that their campaign was going to the dogs, the A-team roped in president Khama, who would later tell a party gathering in Mahalapye that Kwelagobe was a power hungry individual who was hell bent on maintaining a grip on the party chairmanship while at the same time fuelling factional divisions within the party.
 
Not to be outdone, the barata phathi also used the launch of their parliamentary candidates to campaign for their faction.
The highlight was the launch of businessman Guma Moyo at the Tati East constituency, where they roped in renowned South African poet Mzhakhe Mbuli to add spice to the lavish affair at which they flexed both their financial and political muscle.
The launch of factional head honcho Daniel Kwelagobe, which was attended by party heavyweights like Bahiti Temane and former president Festus Mogae, was also used to cement the barata=phathi’s authority.
 
Once again, the A-team retaliated, as immediate former secretary general Jacob Nkate wrote a scathing letter to the media, castigating Kwelagobe as a factionalist individual who has had problems working with all former leaders and has for a long time harboured a grudge against Vice President Mompati Merafhe.
 
President Khama also held meetings with the central district council and delegates from the Francistown region to try and boost the A-team’s campaign.
 
But it was not to be, as the barata-phathi on Monday rode roughshod over the A-team, sweeping all central committee seats and gaining full control of the party.
 
Kwelagobe was the first to emerge victorious, beating A-team candidate Tebelelo Seretse with 508 to 488 votes. The margin was not as wide as many had expected but the barata-phathi explained that it was very difficult, even for a man of Kwelagobe’s status, to campaign against a president.
 
But Kwelagobe’s win bolstered his team-mates’ morale as Gomolemo Motswaledi widened the barata phathi’s lead when he trounced health minister, Lesego Motsumi, 544 to 424 to become the secretary general.
 
Francistown South parliamentary candidate Wynter Mmolotsi also trounced Serowe district council chairman Lesego Raditanka 522-412 to become deputy secretary general while Kagiso Mmusi beat Charles Tibone 515-413 to become the deputy treasurer.
 
The barata-phathi also swept the additional members seats with Kabo Morwaeng, Thato Kwerepe, Leach Tlhomelang, Guma Moyo and Neo Kealotswe ascending to the central committee.

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