Francistown South parliamentary candidate and barata-phathi foot soldier Wynter Mmolotsi is expected to survive incessant attempts by some of his political enemies to have him recalled after the faction with whom he was aligned, barata-phathi, swept the Botswana Democratic Party central committee elections in Kanye last week.
Information reaching The Sunday Standard indicates that the Kedikilwe-Kwelagobe faction has dismissed the issue of Mmolotsi’s recall as a non starter after they took absolute control of the party’s supreme organ.
Mmolotsi’s political future lay in the balance ahead of the BDP congress when the bare knuckled brawl between President Ian Khama and barata-phathi head honcho Daniel Kwelagobe spilled to the Francistown south constituency, with bulela-ditswe primary election losers and A-team sympathizers Godknows Robi and Khumo Maoto leading the onslaught in an attempt to purge the youthful parliamentary candidate.
The duo wrote to the central committee calling for Mmolotsi to be recalled and accusing him of being a volatile and divisive leader whose actions continue to tear the constituency and the BDP asunder. They also accused him of attacking the BDP leadership at numerous party forums at which he was given an opportunity to speak.
The two were also quoted accusing Mmolotsi of thumping his nose at them and sidelining them from party activities after winning the primary elections.
After receiving the letter, the BDP central committee deployed Executive Secretary Comma Serema and BOMASE (Bobirwa-Mmadinare-Selibe Phikwe) regional chairman Nathaniel Moribame to Francistown to investigate the allegations.
The central committee would later find Mmolotsi guilty of contravening the party’s vetting policies, further referring the matter to President Ian Khama to deliver the final verdict.
Throughout his candidature for Francistown south Mmolotsi has had his back against the wall parrying incessant attacks from Robi and Maoto. Initially, the BDP central committee vetted him from contesting the party primaries, in the process vetting in a relatively unknown Bahadzisi Maripe to contest against the incumbent Maoto.
Between himself, Maripe and Robi, Mmolotsi was widely considered the man to give Maoto a run for his money, especially as the latter had beaten him by a paltry 43 votes in the 2003 primaries.
However, the central committee would later reverse its decision after Mmolotsi launched an appeal.
Indications are that there were conditions to Mmolotsi’s being allowed to contest, one of which was that he should not act in any way that will bring the party into disrepute.
Information reaching The Sunday Standard indicates that after receiving Serema and Moribame’s report on their investigations, the past central committee decided that Mmolotsi had flouted this vetting provision and was therefore guilty of the charges leveled against him by Maoto and Robi.
It was widely expected that president Khama would deliver his final verdict on Mmolotsi’s candidature ahead of the Kanye congress, but he chose to remain mum over the issue. Many democrats in Francistown and surrounding areas flocked to the Chedu-Choga hall in Francistown during president Khama’s visit to the area with the hope that the president would shed light on the matter, but once again he chose to remain silent, save to reprimand the youthful parliamentary candidate for choosing to concentrate on the divisive central committee elections instead of pointing his canons at the Francistown south constituency campaign, where Botswana Congress Party candidate Vain Mamela looms large and remains a tangible threat. It was also hoped that the president would deliver a verdict during the Kanye congress, but once again he never mentioned Mmolotsi.
After their resounding victory over the A-team at the Kanye congress, the barata-phathi have regained optimism and started dismissing any chances of the president recalling Mmolotsi.
Members of the Kedikilwe-Kwelagobe faction have all along poured water on the charges leveled against Mmolotsi, dismissing them as trumped up charges that are meant to destabilize the barata-phathi ahead of the Kanye congress.
They also dismissed the verdict passed by the central committee, saying that it was based on a report that was submitted by Serema and Moribame, both of whom are known A-team sympathizers.
A barata-phathi insider said on Friday that it is surprising that the immediate past central committee would find Mmolotsi guilty without even inviting him for a hearing.
“What kind of a democratic society is that? The man should have been given a chance to defend the charges leveled against him,” he charged.
He also dismissed the verdict as a failed intimidation tactic that was meant to deflate Mmolotsi of his stamina ahead of the Kanye congress and tarnish him as a divisive democrat.
Information reaching The Sunday Standard, however, indicates that the barata-phathi are becoming increasingly confident and, emboldened by their resounding victory in Kanye, have now started openly calling on the president to deliver his verdict.
Political commentators have, however, cautioned the barata-phathi to exercise restraint lest their over confidence rubs the president the wrong way. They yesterday warned that even though he suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the barata-phathi in Kanye, president Khama still remains in control of the BDP and, if cornered, he will use his political muscle.
Others have, however, said that Khama would be in the wrong if he recalls Mmolotsi not least because he will be effectively handing the Francistown south constituency to Vain Mamela on a silver platter.
“The elections are too near for the president to recall any political candidate. At the same time the BDP would not want to be painted with the same brush as the beleaguered opposition political parties, who are famous for recalling sure-winner candidates with abandon and scant disregard for the political implications,” they said.
They also added that president Khama would also not want to rub the sitting central committee the wrong way by endorsing a controversial decision that many considered to have been fuelled by factional disputes.
“The president has called for unity and mending of bridges. By dismissing the central committee’s findings, he will in effect be walking the talk and extending an olive branch to the Kedikilwe-Kwelagobe faction,” they said.