Reports of a grand plan by Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) President, Lt Gen Ian Khama to purge Barata-Phathi faction leaders gained credence this week after Khama ordered an investigation into BDP “senior members” who are alleged to be de-campaigning party parliamentary candidate for Gaborone Central, Kgomotso Mogami.
After nudging out Gomolemo Motswaledi as BDP Secretary General and parliamentary candidate for Gaborone Central, Khama has appointed the BDP’s deputy treasurer, Kagiso Mmusi, along with former Mmegi editor and member of the party’s campaign strategy team, Sechele Sechele, to investigate reports that some “senior” BDP members sympathetic to the Party’s suspended Secretary General are de-campaigning Mogami.
Mogami replaced Motswaledi as the party parliamentary hopeful following his suspension in August.
Mogami, who is a late comer at Gaborone Central, has had a cold reception from Motswaledi’s supporters who maintain that they will either vote for outgoing Botswana Congress Party’s Dumelang Seleshando or the Botswana National Front’s Kagiso Thutlwe.
“It has been brought to my attention as the chief campaigner, that there have been some incidents of decampaigning in the area carried out by senior members of our party. I also learn of some disturbing incidents that took place in the past few days, in the same area,” reads a letter signed by Khama and addressed to Mmusi. The letter is also copied to Sechele, Mogami and the BDP Gaborone Central constituency branch secretary.
“I therefore instruct you as central committee member for the area to carry out investigations on these matters and any other such matters that might bring disrepute to the name of our party and impact negatively in our campaigns,” stated Khama.
By tomorrow (Monday) Khama says he wants a detailed report from Mmusi. There are fears that the report from Mmusi could open doors for more suspensions of high ranking members of the party aligned to the Barata Phathi faction.
“To carry out these investigations you are mandated to interview and receive information from all persons and party structures that can be of help as you deem fit,” the letter reads in part.
Contacted for comment, Mmusi confirmed that he had been mandated by Khama to investigate reports of decampaigning at Gaborone Central.
This week the party’s chairman Daniel Kwelagobe filed an affidavit at the Appeals court in favour of Motswaledi, stating that the BDP has no parliamentary candidate at Gaborone Central.
In his affidavit, Kwelagobe says that while Mogami submitted her name to be considered as a parliamentary aspirant for the party at Gaborone Central, the constituency committee vetted and disapproved of her candidature. The Gaborone Central constituency committee’s acting chair, Obert Keabetswe, also filed an affidavit concurring with Kwelagobe.
The party’s central authority has collapsed with party structures on one side and Khama on the other.
Khama’s plans to launch Mogami are reportedly being frustrated by BDP structures which are resisting the president’s choice. The president’s plan to launch Mogami last week had to be abandoned because the party structures withheld their support. Plans to launch Mogami this weekend seemed to be unravelling Friday evening as party structures would not support the president.