Sunday, September 20, 2020

Growing anxiety as more business elites line up for BDP’s┬áBulela Ditswe

Yet a growing number of established business elites have enrolled their names as candidates for the ruling party’s oncoming primary election season.

In Lobatse, Thapelo Matsheka will be taking on the incumbent Member of Parliament, Sadique Kebonang.

Dr Matsheka is businessman who has previously been Chief Executive of government owned CEDA (Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency.)

A distinguished economist, Matsheka has also worked at the University of Botswana where he was economics lecturer.

In Gaborone Bonnington South, Monametsi Kalaamotho will slug it out with Meshack Mthimkhulu.

The two are fighting to replace Kagiso Molathegi who will not be defending his seat.

Kalaamotho is a well-known socialite with established links to the business elite that extends to senior members of cabinet.

Mthimkhulu’s arrival into the BDP has been through a more fascinating path.

A lawyer by profession, Mthimkhulu is a former socialist firebrand who was a member of the opposition Botswana National Front.

After a mighty fallout over disputed BNF primaries in the last General elections, he defected and stood as an independent before joining the BDP ÔÇô where he has since comfortably landed himself a coveted place in the constituency as yet another ranking member of the establishment.

These political novices join a long list of business people around the country who are using their money to edge out career politicians ahead of the BDP primary election season.

This is creating tension, with party traditionalists watching helplessly as their party gets taken over by what they a crop they uncharitably call “tenderpreneurs.”

In one of Ghanzi constituencies yet another businessman who has been winning lucrative tenders from the public construction sector has put forward his name to contest the party’s Bulela Ditswe.

John Thiite was recently one of the biggest donors at a BDP congress whose big agenda item was fund raising.

In Serowe, an accomplished businessman, Puma Matlhware has incumbent, Kgotla Autlwetse on the tenterhooks as he wants to dislodge the traditionalist incumbent.

And that is not all.

Yet another political newcomer, but with deep business roots is causing havoc in Kanye.

Thapelo Letsholo is putting in place an elaborate plan to unseat Patrick Ralotsia, an incumbent Member of Parliament and also minister of Agriculture.

While officially the party is putting on a brave face and says all are welcome to join and contest whatever position is available, behind the scenes there are is discernible unease and tension as captured by disparate debates about potentially negative public impressions created by a sudden surge of a business elite that seems more determined to take over the BDP.

Traditionally the BDP has been voted and maintained in power by ordinary under-classes who have no direct connections much less admiration for the arriving army of the business class that is headquartered in the capital city and with no identifiable grassroots connections, especially in the rural areas.

Career politicians are worried by what ÔÇô wrongly or rightly ÔÇô they perceive as a carefully orchestrated national plan to sell their party to the highest bidder.

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.