Former President Sir Ketumile Masire has reportedly turned down a request from President Ian Khama inviting him to serve as part of the party’s council of elders.
The party’s council of elders was recently revived as part of efforts to stem the tide of defections from the BDP to its offshoot, the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD).
The council, which recently met, is made up of David Magang, Patrick Balopi, Kebatamang Morake, Simon Hitchfeld, Jerry Gabaake, among others.
A source close to the council of elders told The Telegraph that Masire turned down the offer.
According to another source close to the former president, Masire declined to join the council because he wanted to remain independent and be able to speak freely on political developments within the BDP.
Those close to Masire say the BDP founder is unhappy at the way he was treated by the party leadership during his efforts to reconcile the A-Team faction with their rivals of the Barata-Phathi faction prior to the formation of BMD.
His reconciliation efforts were snubbed by some key BDP functionaries, some of whom were uncharitable enough to label him a member of Barata Phathi faction.
While the Barata-Phathi faction had formally accepted his reconciliation intiative, the party central committee never officially communicated their position after Masire told them he was ready to mediate.
In an interview with The Telegraph, the BDP’s executive secretary denied that Masire had turned down the party leadership inviting him to join the party’s council of elders.
Batlang Serema said from his understanding, the ex-president had not turned down a request but was still being pursued.
“He has not declined, what I know is that [they] are still talking to him,” he said.
Serema said party chair, Daniel Kwelagobe, had been assigned the task of talking to Masire.
“Talk to Kwelagobe,” said Dr. Serema.
But in a separate interview Kwelagobe refused to shed light on the issue, instead referring this paper to Masire.
“The best thing is for you to talk to him. He is in a better position to give you the answer he gave us,” said Kwelagobe.
By the time of going to press Masire was not available for comment as he was reported to be on his way to the cattle post.
Contacted later for comment, an officer travelling with the former president, Penke White, said the former President who together with Sir Seretse Khama, Botswana’s founding President started the BDP was not in a position to talk about the issue.
“You guys are always troubling him,” said White.