A team of South African experts who recommended that Pelonomi Venson Moitoi should withdraw her challenge against President Mokgweetsi Masisi for the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) presidency have also recommended strategies to oust Masisi.
“Our attention has been drawn to the possibility of Mr Khama supporting independent candidates comprising mainly BDP members who allege to have been cheated in the primary elections. In carefully selected constituencies, at local government and parliamentary level, independent candidates with enough support can win against BDP official candidates hostile to Mr Khama. If they fail they can take away enough votes for opposition to possibly win the constituencies in question. The biggest loser in this scenario is Mr Masisi.”
The team further recommends that Khama should negotiate a deal with the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) before making a commitment to help the oust President Masisi’s government.
“Mr Khama retains affection in the hearts of many Botswana people. Footage of his community upliftement visits to communities show a man of magnetism and is still able to rouse the crowds. It is unlikely his predecessor in retirement could retain the appeal Mr Khama still does. In this context if the above options are considered unviable, Mr Khama can still resign from BDP and support opposition candidates well-disposed to him without him seeking return to office in the case of a change of government. The relationship between the new government and Mr Khama will be a subject of negotiations and agreements before any commitments can be made.”
The report further states that, “unlike any of his predecessors, and other presidents who will come after him, Mr Khama can count on a loyal following from his chieftainship territory. It is impossible for everyone in his areas of royal jurisdiction to support the paramount chief as already evidenced by activists in the territory backing Mr Masisi. But as a decidedly rural territory, we are confident Mr Khama’s support for independents and selected opposition candidates can tilt the scales in areas which were previously impregnable if he reaches out to the multitudes who still regard the chief as more important than a political party. Again a separate, thorough feasibility study of individual constituencies in which support will be given to independents and opposition candidates will have to be done.”
Although the team of experts mooted the possibility of Khama reaching out to Masisi, they raised questions on whether Masisi would live up to his end of the deal. “Mr Khama to reach out to Mr Masisi, personally or through emissaries for a truce to be negotiated in the interests of both men and for the sake of the party. In this regard, Mr Masisi having registered his hollow victory, achieved with the price of manipulation, intimidation and abuse of state resources and assets may be amenable to a settlement in order to turn his attention to the general elections. A big question mark is would Mr Masisi’s conciliatory stance be genuine or only meant to buy him peace for purposes of the election after which he will return to haunt Mr Khama? 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 team also mooted the possibiolity of Khama helping to fiorm a new party. “ Mr Khama 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. But can a party formed after April with only 6 months to elections be organized and resourced in time for the elections? Will the new party be part of opposition coalition or go it alone? For the party to be of significant force it will have to rely on BDP members sympathetic to Mr Khama to make up the bulk of its leadership and rank and file. The viability of a new party will have to be studied in more depth.”