Suspense overshadows the shaky factional truce hammered by Ian Khama in April last year after he became President.
To appease and place the two BDP factions, President Khama offered one faction the position of Vice President and the other of National Chairman.
The two positions were given to Mompati Merafhe and Kwelagobe, respectively.
But at a BDP Central Committee meeting last Monday dicey President Ian Khama kick-started a lobby for an abolition of holding dual roles in the Central Committee and parliament at the same time.
His position is that all BDP members contesting parliamentary seats should not be allowed to contest for party leadership positions in the Central Committee at the same time.
Positions for the BDP Central Committee fall vacant in July when the party goes for a Congress in Kanye.
Kwelagobe’s faction is worried that the initiative will disadvantage their side.
“Kwelagobe was made National Chairman because Merafhe had been given the position of Vice President. Will Merafhe now be stripped of his position since Kwelagobe will not be the Chairman?” a BDP insider asked.
President Khama tabled his idea at a Central Committee meeting on Monday.
At the same time he also sent emissaries to Gomolemo Motswaledi and Wynter Mmolotsi, two leading party members who have made known their wishes to enter the race for the Central Committee.
The two are also candidates for parliamentary seats.
Khama’s new strategy is said to be informed by concerns that, having been under control for some time, old party factions are fast emerging again.
Khama is said to be worried that an analysis of current dynamics shows that at the moment there is more acrimony between Nkate and Motswaledi than is the case between Motswaledi and the BCP’s Dumelang Saleshando, who Motswaledi wants to oust as Gaborone Central MP.
Nkate and Motswaledi are at each other’s throat over the position of Secretary General.
President Ian Khama is also worried of the intensifying animosity between Chairman Daniel Kwelagobe and Vice President Mompati Merafhe.
The two are taking each other head-on for the position of BDP National Chairman.
If approved by the Congress Khama’s position, which was adopted by the Central Committee at a Monday meeting, will see only Khama retaining a position in both parliament and the Central Committee.
At a press conference today (Tuesday), the party Executive Secretary Batlang Serema said it was only a lobby position.
“Of course the lobby must go on. The important thing is that as the BDP leadership, we cannot be the ones circumventing the party rules,” he said.
Serema underscored the fact that the lobby position initiated by Khama is meant to bring harmony inside the BDP.
“No one party wants to go to the national elections divided. If that happens then you know you are heading for a disaster,” said Dr. Serema.
“What is important to us is unity. And as you know politics is a game of lobbying,” he said.
The BDP Deputy Executive Secretary, Fedelis Molao, concurred with Serema, adding that “it is a fact that primary elections have divided us. What we are saying as a party is that we are still nursing the wounds and we cannot afford any more internal battles,” said Molao.
“But in the end, the final arbiter will be the Congress,” said Molao.
About 80 percent of BDP Central Committee members are Ministers with some sitting as backbenchers or councilors.
Serema said because the majority of the Central Committee has agreed with the position, it has since become a Central Committee lobbying platform which will be sold to the party membership.
Although Serema tried to sell it as a unanimous decision, Sunday Standard can conform that some leading party stalwarts. Notably Chairman Kwelagobe vehemently argues against Khama’s idea.
If Khama’s idea passes, people like Kwelagobe, Mompati Merafhe, Jacob Nkate and Kentse Rammidi will have to vacate their positions in the Central Committee.
Merafhe, who is the Vice President, will be contesting Mahalapye West while Kwelagobe is contesting Molepolole South.
Jacob Nkate, who is the current BDP Secretary General, will be contesting Ngami while Rammidi is trying his luck in Kanye North.
A host of other Central Committee Members is also contestants in the coming elections.