Elijah Katse is said to be one of the senior ruling party members who are seriously considering decamping to the opposition Botswana Movement for Democracy.
In the last General Elections, Katse was a parliamentary candidate for the ruling Botswana Democratic Party in the South East North Constituency.
He lost to the then Botswana National Front’s Olebile Gaborone by a paltry margin of 17 votes, but Gaborone has since retraced his steps back to the BDP, a decision which seems to be at the centre of BDP’s instability in the constituency.
There are perceptions that Gaborone, a Tlokweng senior royal, enjoys the personal support of President Ian Khama (he too a royal) and everything is being done to sidestep Katse in favour of Gaborone.
In an interview, Katse confirmed that he is not happy with the treatment he is getting from the BDP.
He said trouble started after Gaborone defected.
Katse has already written a letter to the BDP head office outlining his complaints, but has not received any reply.
“I cannot blame Olebile Gaborone for anything. The trouble is at the top of the party. It is from there where he is getting all the support which is undermining me as the BDP Branch Chairman,” said Katse in an interview.
He said it is clear from the leadership of the party that they now feel that they have a candidate they would want to represent the party going forward.
This he says pains him very deeply, looking at how hard he has worked hard to build BDP structures in the constituency.
“It is clear to me that when he was recruited, some reassurances were made to Olebile Gaborone. And we should not forget that he was personally recruited by President Ian Khama,” said Katse.
Katse said when Gaborone arrived, there was a lot of excitement as he was perceived a good catch who was going to boost the constituency, but after some time reality has settled that there are people who prefer Gaborone to take over the BDP structures in the constituency.
All these, said Katse, became all too apparent in the preparations for the Mahalapye congress when, as the leader of the branch committee, he was overlooked in favour of Gaborone.
“Parliamentary incumbency is no doubt giving Gaborone a big advantage over me. I had sincerely wanted to work with him but there is an agenda, not by Gaborone, but people closest to him to sideline me,” said Katse.
He said when in the recent past he tried to call branch meetings, he was undermined and disrupted by Gaborone’s sympathizers.
Katse remains unwavering in his belief that Gaborone has not done anything wrong, but it is those who act in his name that are undermining the stability of the BDP in the constituency.
Meanwhile, Katse has confirmed that the Botswana Movement for Democracy has been in touch with him, but said he remains a loyal BDP member.
With events unfolding so fast in the South East North, for how long he will remain a loyal BDP member only time will tell.
It is instructive to note that BMD has recently been welcoming former BDP councilors in that constituency.