Former Member of Parliament for Tonota South, Pono Moatlhodi who is also former Deputy Speaker of Parliament has accused President Ian Khama for destroying the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
Addressing a joint press conference in Francistown last week held by the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Moatlhodi barred no blows as he pointed an accusing finger at Khama for instilling fear within party members and destroying the inner party democracy that used to be enjoyed by the members of the BDP. He said the ruling party is currently on a freefall.
“I don’t want to lie. I am a politician because I was groomed by the BDP and rose through different ranks. It is a party that I always held closer to my heart. I am grateful to the BDP for that but I want to be honest, the BDP has since denigrated since the assumption of power by President Ian Khama. The problem is that there is no longer inner democracy within the BDP. Holding a different opinion against President Khama is often considered disrespectful or a sin,” he said.
During the past general election the BDP recorded the lowest popular vote ever in its history of 47.6 percent.
In 2008, Moatlhodi ruffled feathers when he questioned the militarization of government under President Khama.
He was then recalled from the BDP only to be re-admitted back into the party after a delegation was sent from Tonota to see President Khama to plead for his forgiveness.
Moatlhodi who defected from the ruling party last year after losing the BDP primary elections to join the Botswana National Front (BNF) emphasized that before President Ian Khama assumed power in the BDP there was tolerance of opinions within the party.
He said at the time BDP members were free to express their views even if they differed with the leadership.
“BDP members were free to express their views without fear or favor. There was tolerance within the BDP up until when President Khama assumed the reins of the party,” he said.
He further accused President Khama of ruining the quality of education in the country. He said under the leadership of the past Presidents, Botswana’s education was competitive with the rest of the world.
“Under Khama’s predecessors, our education was in good shape and we were competitive with other countries. Now our education sector is in shambles and declining gradually. Children are failing in schools because the current government does not take the welfare of teachers into consideration. There is also an increase of hooliganism in schools. Everything is out of control and in chaos. The country’s education system is falling apart,” said Moatlhodi.
Moatlhodi further attacked Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi saying that he is politically immature. He was responding to the statements made by the Vice President at a press conference in Gaborone last week. Masisi had told the press briefing that the BDP will create jobs and opportunities for all Batswana to free them from the shackles of poverty.
“The BDP has been in power for almost 50 years and failed to create jobs and opportunities for everyone. What makes Masisi to make such bold and unrealistic sentiments?
Can the BDP create jobs for every one in four years ahead of the elections?” he asked.
Moatlhodi said that the only alternative is for Batswana to vote out the BDP out of power in 2019 to bring about positive change in their lives.
“Batswana are the only ones who can bring the change they desire by voting for the Umbrella for Democratic Change in 2019. The ruling party is failing Batswana,” he said in conclusion.
The opposition parties had called a press conference to update the media on an Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) workshop which they had attended in Francistown. EISA is an international organization which is mandated with promoting credible elections, participatory democracy, human rights culture and the strengthening of governance institutions for the consolidation of democracy in Africa.