In his quest to successfully defend the chairmanship of the Botswana Democratic Party and pave his way to the state presidency, Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s team of wealthy financiers and political handlers have opened a bank account the proceeds from which will turn his campaign into a well-oiled machine.
According to people familiar with the development, the bank account has so far amassed close to P10 million.
This will be a repeat of the strategy that Masisi’s campaign used for him to win the post in the last congress in Mmadinare, albeit this time around at a much larger and more lavish scale.
At the last Congress the campaign was so awash with cash and resources so much so that they set up a camp which they extravagantly and somewhat exuberantly called “Dubai Camp”.
This time around the immediate task is to print campaign material like posters, T-shirts and other paraphernalia ahead of a BDP Congress in July.
But there is yet another hurdle beyond July. Under the BDP constitution there shall be a vacancy before for the party presidency ahead of 2019 General Elections, following the retirement of incumbent President Ian Khama in 2018.
Masisi’s campaign machine, affectionately known inside the BDP as “Team Sisiboy” has already become visible with their campaign dress code, prompting envious detractors to argue that the BDP Chairman might be breaking campaign rules for the party which prohibit early campaigning.
The game plan, insiders say, is to use financial resources to awe and finally obliterate opponents inside the party.
Masisi faces unprecedented difficulties on his way to the presidency.
Other than a buoyant opposition that believes they have an outside chance to win against him, there is a ground-swell of opposition inside the party holding the view that he is not the right man for the presidency.
“He [Masisi] is abnormally aware of his weaknesses. He knows the doubts that people have about him,” said one of Masisi’s surrogates.
Although his people have come out to refute it, it is common knowledge inside the party that Masisi is currently not sitting pretty with Khama after he defied an instruction not to stand.
He was prodded into defying the President by his close circle of advisors who felt that by denying Masisi a chance to defend the position of BDP Chairman, Khama was effectively paving the way for his younger brother, Tshekedi Khama who is also known to harbour designs for the top chair.
In the BDP, Masisi’s chief supporters are said to include party Treasurer Satar Dada, one-time Chairman Samson Moyo Guma and former Secretary General Mpho Balopi.
Dada, it is said has been particularly instrumental in raising the money especially from Botswana’s Muslim community.
An accomplished businessman in his own right, Dada is also head of Muslims in Botswana.
Curiously, Dada and Moyo Guma have always been in the opposing camps of the BDP.
But the two men are immensely transactional and have thus been brought together by the luring prospects of Masisi becoming State President which who put their business interests on are an enviable pedestal.
Masisi has succeeded in personalising the recruitment of members into the BDP, especially those attracted from the opposition parties, many of who have been lured into the BDP with promises and prospects of good lives, thanks to the “good-heartedness of the VP”.
This has not sat down well with opposing factions inside the BDP who are already crying foul that the VP is using his current position in government and his enhanced prospects to become President to vanquish those that dare to oppose him.
The campaign war chest happens at a time when the party is struggling with funds to run its operations, reportedly having depleted the P9 million overdraft facility that it had been using over the years.