The Minister of Agriculture, Mr Christian De Graaf is reportedly considering quitting active politics due to ill health. Despite his denial in an interview with Mmegi last week that he doesn’t intend to quit before his five year term, speculation is rife that the Minister is preparing to quit active politics.
Sources close to the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) say that the party fears that should De Graaf quit active politics, the party is likely to lose the constituency to the opposition in a by-election.
During the 2014 General Elections De Graaf garnered 4812 while Motsamai Motsamai of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) got 3846 and Botswana Congress Party (BCP)’s Brains Kwadipane managed 481.
When asked to comment on allegations that he is quitting active politics, De Graaf is quoted as saying “All that is not true, I am doing just fine and have no reason to retire or quit before my five-year term. I am going to finish my term, so there is nothing like that.”
Speculation that De Graaf is quitting active politics was heightened this week when Office of the President announced in a statement that President Ian Khama has, after considering a request by the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Christian De Graaf, agreed to relieve him of his ministerial duties to allow him to focus on his health.
A press release from Office of the President stated that consequent to this development, the acting Minister of Agriculture, Patrick Ralotsia, is confirmed Minister of Agriculture and will be deputised by Fedelis Molao.
Both appointments are with immediate effect.
President Khama thanked Mr De Graaf for his unwavering support and commitment that he displayed during his term and wished him the best in his recovery.
The statement says that during his term as Minister of Agriculture, De Graaf guided the ministry’s transformation process in the beef industry culminating into last year’s exceptional performance of the Botswana Meat Commission as well as a bumper harvest in crop production through the implementation of the ISPAAD programme.