BY THOBO MOTLHOKA
Former President Ian Khama has officially announced his resignation from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). Addressing multitudes of his sympathizers at his home village of Serowe Khama yesterday (Saturday) Khama said he would use his resources to ensure the BDP loses General Elections, expected in October. “As it stands I do not have a party,” Khama said. The former BDP president said the party was in ‘intensive care unit’ because of poor leadership by his handpicked successor President Mokgweetsi Masisi. He said by the time they finish with BDP the party should remain destroyed beyond repair.
In confirmation of weeks long speculations about a new party formed by him and his associates, Khama said he would assist the new party, Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), together with other opposition parties and independent candidates to topple the BDP from power. Khama confirmed self exiled Tati East Member of Parliament Samson Moyo Guma would join the new party. He said he would officially launch Guma, Tati East MP Biggie Butale, and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) candidate running against Vice President and BDP Chairman Slumber Tsogwane in Boteti West.
Khama again went on a tirade, attacking his successor Masisi and telling his supporters at Serowe Show Grounds that he made a mistake appointing Masisi before whipping out his BDP membership card and announcing he doesn’t want it anymore. His BDP supporters immediately rushed to the front, tossed their party membership cards to the ground in support of the former president. He said the BDP is not recognizable since Masisi took over. “I don’t recognise it anymore. I have come here to announce I don’t want to be a part of it anymore.”
Khama said he would go across the country the country selling the new party and assisting the opposition. Butale announced the new party had been registered and encouraged supporters to go and spread the word. BPF is expected to field candidates mainly in the Central Region and form alliances with other opposition parties in areas where they do not enjoy strong following. Khama said his supporters should begin wearing sky blue color in the meantime to display their support for the new movement. So far the new party boasts at least two legislators in Butale and Guma . Khama has now played his last card in line with recommendation of his international sponsors.
Khama was advised to aid the formation of a new political party. “Mr Khama cannot lead the party in case he is accused of plotting what one of the Botswana ministers, Unity Dow referred to as a Putin strategy to return to power.” For the party to be of significant force, the report said, it will have to rely on BDP members sympathetic to Khama to make up the bulk of its leadership and rank and file.
“Our analysis is that for Mr Masisi’s project to become a success, Mr Khama and his associates must continuously be vilified and portrayed in the eyes of the nation as the perennial enemies of the nation.” The report had advised that should reconciliation efforts fail, Khama should formally resign his BDP membership.