Sunday, October 25, 2020

Minister, MPs face disciplinary action as Masisi cracks the whip

BY THOBO MOTLHOKA

The list of disciplinary cases continues to grow with some senior members of the ruling party finding themselves in a precarious situation.

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) President Mokgweetsi Masisi continues with his efforts to maintain order and tighten his grip on the party leadership.

Last week saw the party’s Members of Parliament Samson Moyo Guma, Prince Maele, and Assistant Minister Biggie Butale served with letters for disciplinary hearings.

Maele is to appear for statements he made during a Kgotla meeting with former President Ian Khama in late 2018. The Member of Parliament (MP) for Lerala Maunatlala addressed a meeting in his constituency where he publicly expressed his support for Khama saying he was surprised at the way Khama had been treated by the very same people he groomed.

“I want to tell you people of Moremi who sent me to Parliament that I am the last person to forsake or dump him (Khama),” Maele told the gathering.
“Lately we have seen people distancing themselves from our former president but I will never do that and I know what I am saying.” Maele, who had just been dropped from cabinet by Masisi, said he could not care less if he was to be denied a “position” in government as a result of his support for Khama.

“Especially if it is done because of my utterances that I support my Paramount Chief. I will not hide. I know what I am saying and those who have any intentions of reporting me anywhere can go ahead.”

The BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi at the time could not be drawn into discussing whether Maele would face any disciplinary action but any doubts have now been laid to rest with Maele receiving his disciplinary summons at the National Assembly on Thursday, March 14. Contacted for comment the MP refused to speak to the Sunday Standard.

Tati East MP Guma was also served although he immediately rejected the letters on account of his names “not been written properly”.

Guma himself is to answer in relation to his appearance at the controversial Serowe meeting addressed by a pro Masisi Presidential challenger Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi faction that included Venson-Moitoi herself and Khama.

The meeting had been meant to challenge the decision by the party’s Serowe Regional Congress to endorse Masisi for presidency over area MP Venson-Moitoi.

Guma is also facing charges over complaints raised by the party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane accusing him of making allegations to the media that were deliberately meant to tarnish his character. Also central to the complaints is a leaked secret video showing Guma and some party members discussing Tsogwane and other members of the party. 

Speaking to the Sunday Standard Guma said he would respond accordingly to the charges leveled against him.

“No one should be seen to be above the party,” Guma said. “I will follow all due process to ensure these matters are laid to rest. I will furnish him (Tsogwane) with the video in question if he so wishes.”

Assistant Minister and MP for Tati West Butale also faces disciplinary action following a complaint by his branch secretary Thalosang Muchauza.

Butale stands accused of addressing kgotla meetings and telling gatherings that he will be contesting in the coming General Elections.

“His speech left Democrats confused as they know that their parliamentary candidate is Simon Mavange,” Muchauza wrote. “We therefore suspect a hidden political agenda thereby he is using government resources and kgotla meetings as platforms to campaign.”

Butale has following his loss in the primary elections challenged the results, and the subsequent decision by the BDP Appeals Board to deny him a rerun.”

The trio of MPs joins a long list of party members including councilors who face an uncertain future as the party prepares for their respective Presidential and Central Committee elective Congresses, as well as the national General Elections in October 2019. Both Venson-Moitoi and Khama are conspicuously absent from the disciplinary list.

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