President Ian Khama has called for a re-trial of three Botswana Democratic Party Youth League leaders in what is believed to be a systematic and organised attempt to purge Barata-Phathi members from the party structure.
BDP Executive Secretary, Comma Serema, confirmed this week that the retrial of BDP youth chairperson Kenaleone Motsaathebe, Secretary General Boikhutsho Nshakazhogwe-Masunga and Treasurer, Bashi Kgakge (all linked to Barata-Phathi faction) was discussed at a recent Central Committee meeting.
Khama wants the trio to be re-tried by the party’s disciplinary committee, which is chaired by Minister Ambrose Masalila.
Motsaathebe, Nshakazhogwe-Masunga and Kgakge were in April banned from the party for two months for financial transgressions. However, following a disciplinary hearing, the trio was reinstated on condition that they refunded the party, which they have since done.
The trio was also barred from voting at the recent BDP National Congress in Kanye.
“What the leadership is doing is scary to say the least,” said Motsaathebe who confirmed reports that Khama wants him and two others hauled before the BDP disciplinary committee again.
“There is a well orchestrated plan to oust me as youth wing chair,” he told the Sunday Standard. He said that as far as he was concerned he is the BDP youth wing chair because he had complied with a judgment by the past disciplinary committee.
“They are out to get rid of me because I differ with them on many issues,” he stated.
In an interview, Nshkashogwa-Masunga and Kgakge said that they had been reinstated to their positions.
The issue came up at the BDP’s central committee meeting held on Monday. Although the issue was left unfinished, it is understood that the majority of Central Committee members aligned to the Kedikilwe/Kwelagobe faction are totally against a re-trial.
Party Secretary General, Gomolemo Motswaledi, would not comment on the allegations, referring all inquiries to Serema.
The party Executive Secretary confirmed that the issue was discussed but said no definitive position had been taken.
Pressed on why Khama was making a sudden call for a re-trial when the previous disciplinary committee had delivered a verdict on the issue, Serema said, “up to now, we do not have a written judgment hence talks of referring the issue to the disciplinary committee,” he stated.
Serema said that the party was of the view that the disciplinary committee had to come up with a written judgment hence the possibility of a re-trial.
All these explanations, “fly in the face of conventional reasoning” argues Motsaathebe.
A party insider, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the idea of a re-trial was just a move to ‘persecute’ the youth wing leaders because of their allegiance to the Kedikilwe/Kwelagobe faction.
However, this has been denied by Serema who maintained that the absence of a written judgment from the previous committee, which was chaired by Bernard Bolele, was the real motive for a re-trial.
Meanwhile, Khama has appointed the immediate past Secretary General, Jacob Nkate, and Leach Thomelang BDP central committee members, to probe the factional infighting at the BDP youth wing.
The BDP youth wing has suspended from its rank the vice chairman, Dithapelo Tshotego, who is associated with the Merafhe/Nkate faction.
Curiously, the suspended BDPYL vice Chairperson continues to sit as the youth wing’s representative at the BDP central committee.