Annah Motlhagodi, who was tipped to run for the Vice Presidency of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) at its national congress, has announced that she will not be contesting for any elective position.
“I can confirm that I was in the race for the Vice Presidency but have since withdrawn for private and personal reasons,” Motlhagodi said on Monday.
Her surprise withdrawal has raised eyebrows in some quarters and reports are gaining momentum that she was elbowed out to make way for Botswana Alliance Movement (BAM) President Ephraim Setshawelo.
BCP and BAM have announced that they will have merged to form one party, BCP, by May of this year, just before the party’s elective congress.
It is understood that some of the BCP’s bigwigs have been lobbying for Setshwaelo to take over as BCP’s Vice President, and even gone to the extent of pleading with Motlhagodi to make way for Setshawelo.
But Motlhagodi has denied pulling out on account of pressure from her colleagues, insisting that her decision was personal.
She however said that she did not agree with some of her colleagues in the BCP, who were urging her not to contest, but maintained that her decision to stand down was hers alone.
“I did not agree with them and I did not withdraw because of their request,” she said.
Motlhagodi said that BAM and BCP do not have any conclusive agreement on leadership positions, adding that all central committee positions are contested for through lobbying for support from the party membership.
So far Dumelang Saleshando has been given the thumbs up to contest the party presidency. At a press conference organised by the two parties recently, Setshawelo declared that he will contest at the BCP’s elective congress in July. At the time he also said that he was not eyeing the presidency.
Current BCP Deputy President Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang also denied reports that Motlhagodi was muscled out of the Vice Presidential race.
“What I know is that the position of Vice President is the most contested position,” said Gobotswang
He said other activists like Dr Habaudi Hubona and current party chairman Batisani Maswibilili’s names were being mentioned in relation to the Vice Presidency.
He appealed to both party members to ensure that the central committee is inclusive by making sure that women and BAM are represented.