Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Guma unfazed by reports of spearheading BMD defections

Tati East legislator, Samson Moyo Guma, is unfazed by media reports that he is leading a recruitment drive out of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) activists back to their old political home of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

Guma, a founding member of the BMD and its treasurer, said an in an interview with Sunday Standard that it is on record that he has been approached by the BDP to return back to the party.

“The president made an announcement that he was prepared to welcome me back into the BDP in front of my constituents last year when officiating at the Tati Siding infrastructure development projects,” said Guma.

He was referring to President Ian Khama’s remarks during the event following his plea to the president for the reinstatement of the fired essential service workers in the aftermath of last year’s two-month long strike.

In response, the president had said he would make that consideration provided Guma returned to the BDP as he had already forgiven him (Guma).

The BDP has been courting Guma back to its fold after he parted ways with the BMD and becoming the lone independent legislator in the National Assembly. Following his departure, talk has been rife since that it was only a matter of time before he re-joined the BDP. He has adamantly denied such a move.

“I haven’t made a decision yet. Once I have made a decision I will make a public announcement as a public figure,” said Guma, who wondered whether the BDP needed his services to spearhead its recruitment drive.

“Does the BDP need Guma to spearhead its recruitment drive, especially for those members who defected to the BMD? Is the BDP lacking in resources to do that for itself? Are the people peddling such allegations implying that the BDP is incapable of recruiting from the BMD? May be the clarity I need is whether the BDP has engaged me as its consultant to drive its recruitment from the BMD,” said Guma, adding that such a perception would only hold water if the defections were happening in his constituency.

He emphasized that his constituency would also be a non-starter in that the BDP is already in control of the nine wards including the two specially nominated councillors.

Asked whether he did not view the whole thing as a smear campaign against him, he said it is not because he viewed it is an electioneering issue which does not even nerve him.

“I am not shaken by the allegations that I am spearheading the recruitment drive. It does not cause me sleepless nights. Not a bit. As a public figure people will always have something to say about me. It is very good for people to talk about me, whether negative or positive. In fact, it is bad when people are just silent about me as if I don’t exist yet I am a public figure. That cannot be right,” said Guma.

He said criticism or comment is a good sign of recognition and he is therefore not worried by media reports suggesting that he is spearheading the BMD defections.

“I am not angered and I will not be distracted from the focus on the mandate that I was given by my constituents on poverty alleviation drive as well as employment creation. If there is anybody I owe an explanation it is the people who voted me to parliament. They are my primary concern,” said the independent legislator.

Guma added that it is not surprising that newspapers have kept a close check on him because that helps him to stay focused and on course to delivering on his mandate.

“Both of us, the media and politicians, are watchdogs although we do it on different spheres. That is good for democracy and I have no reason to be alarmed or angry when commentary is made on me,” he said, adding that if he was a member of the BDP, he would not have been invited to the party’s 50th anniversary because by virtue of his membership he would automatically be a participant.

He concluded that were he to rejoin the BDP, his welcoming would not be held at a hotel but rather in his constituency where he was voted from.

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