Monday, May 16, 2022

Khama’s compromise initiative gains momentum

President Ian Khama’s compromise initiative gained momentum over the weekend after the Botswana Democratic Party Women’s Wing elected their executive committee members through compromise.

Fireworks were expected at the women’s wing congress, especially as some BDP women had raised complaints that the executive committee was using their incumbency advantage to elbow interested candidates out.

A recent meeting convened in Mahalapye before the Nata congress turned ugly after accusations flew thick and fast that the incumbent leadership was sidelining capable candidates from contesting elections.

Complaints were also raised that the incumbent executive leadership had an unfair advantage as they were mediating on an issue in which they had vested interests.

“Neutral party members should have been roped in to mediate on the issue for the sake of fairness,” they said.

The congress endorsed a compromise list in which all but one of the previous executive committee members were retained.

Angelinah Sengalo remains Chairperson after muscling out Sylvia Muzila.

Tshepo Wareus also returned as Deputy Chair, Keneilwe Mathangwane is Secretary General and her deputy is Kgomotso Mogami.

Granny Sesupeng is Treasurer, while Keotlogele Kerebotswe is her deputy.

The only new face in the new executive is that of Tshepo Mogami, who replaced Linky Letshwiti.
However, Letshwiti was returned as additional member.

Speaking to The Telegraph on Monday, Keneilwe Mathangwane said it is not true that harsh words were exchanged at the Mahalapye meeting.

“That is not true at all. Those who wanted to contest were openly critiqued and their merits and de-merits considered. Women then openly decided who they wanted as the compromise candidate,” she said.

However, those who attended the meeting said the open policy was unfair because the incumbent executive unfairly bragged about their achievements and ridiculed those who showed interest in competing against them. They cited the battle between Sylvia Muzila and Angelinah Sengalo as an example.

Mathangwane, however, insists that Sengalo and Muzila were given equal opportunities to campaign.

“Both candidates were given an opportunity to say their achievements, strengths and weaknesses.

They were thoroughly critiqued and Sengalo emerged as the winner. In the end, Muzila conceded defeat and embraced Sengalo as the compromise candidate for the position of Chairperson,” she said.

Surprisingly, President Khama, who graced the women’s wing congress, barely spoke about his compromise initiative. At their last two national council meetings, the BDP decided not to hold elections, but rather to elect leaders through compromise as a means of fostering party unity.
So far the youth wing and the women’s wing have heeded Khama’s call for compromise.

However, Khama will face the biggest challenge at the national congress in July. While he has urged those who are interested in central committee positions to submit their names with party Chairman Daniel Kwelagobe, Khama is already facing open defiance from some democrats, who are rooting for open elections.

Assistant Minister Kentse Rammidi, who is vying for the position of Secretary General, has publicly declared that he disagrees with Khama over the compromise issue. While many have not openly declared their disagreement with Khama, indications are that there are many who agree with Rammidi.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper