President Ian Khama masterminded the chain of events that eventually led to the resignation of former Botswana Democratic Party Secretary General, Kentse Rammidi, BDP insiders have revealed.
Information passed to Sunday Standard indicates that President Khama had been keeping tabs on Rammidi for a while, especially after the two broke ranks over whether the BDP national congress should elect the executive through a compromise or hold elections.
Khama favoured a compromise while Rammidi was itching for elections, saying a compromise stifles democracy.
After he was told that he would not be allowed to hold a cabinet position and an executive committee position, Rammidi resigned as Assistant Minister of Local Government.
“We knew all about Rammidi’s plans and the pact that he made with the opposition. We also knew about his sojourns to Khutse and the plan that they set out to cripple the BDP,” said the confident insiders.
Khama is said to have lost trust in Rammidi after he attended a Botswana Movement for Democracy retreat. He later appeared on the front page of The Telegraph vying for elections instead of a compromise, when he knew that the national council had opted for a compromise.
“From then on, he made headlines every week, making statements that were against party policy. He later resigned from cabinet, saying he was going to campaign for elections. In fact, Rammidi resigned during the public sector strike, when we needed him most. That should say something about his loyalty to the party and to the President. He then addressed striking workers and spoke against the BDP. The man clearly wanted to go,” said the BDP insiders.
While he was initially against Rammidi’s inclusion in the compromise list, Khama reportedly hit a u-turn after receiving intelligence information about Rammidi’s plans. Much to the chagrin of some A-team members, Khama now insisted that Rammidi should not be challenged as Secretary General.
The anti-Rammidi lobby wanted him to face disciplinary action.
They were not amused when Rammidi addressed striking public servants. They felt that Khama treated Rammidi with kid gloves when he did not demand that he makes a public apology, a la Botsalo Ntuane, after publicly attacking Minister of Health John Seakgosing when he complained about poor service at the Seventh Day Adventist Mission hospital.
But Khama stuck to his guns. His foot soldiers insist he had an ace up his sleeve.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was the BDP’s decision to retable the motion that sought to declare teaching services as essential services. After failing to sway BDP Members of Parliament and the executive, Rammidi reportedly told Kwelagobe that he did not want to be part of a sinking BDP. He resigned after the motion sailed through parliament.
However, BDP insiders credit Rammidi’s resignation to Khama’s intelligence prowess. In fact, they believe Rammidi and the opposition had not planned for Rammidi to resign so quickly after he became Secretary General.
“It was always Khama’s plan to coerce Rammidi to become Secretary General. This would eventually put him in a very difficult position of defending a congress resolution that he personally disagreed with. Khama simply gave Rammidi a long rope to hang himself with,” they said.
Khama is said to have told Rammidi that he would not condone wayward behavior after the former broke ranks with the party caucus. It was then that Rammidi realized that his time at the BDP had come to an end. And so he resigned, albeit earlier than planned.
BDP insiders say Khama was aware that Rammidi had planned to stay longer as Secretary General, ingratiate himself with the public and build himself into a maverick politician whose resignation would send shockwaves throughout the BDP.
But it was not to be, hardly a month after occupying the Secretary General hot sea, Rammidi called it quits. BDP diehards insist that Khama should be credited for scuttling the plan to cripple the BDP.
”That is utter rubbish. I never made a pact with anyone. My reasons for leaving the BDP are well known. Ask them to name anyone from the opposition who I made a pact with. The BDP has bigger problems and they must concentrate on those,” was Rammidi’s response to the allegations.