Friday, March 31, 2023

Nkate spurns diplomatic post, guns for BDP chairmanship

Jacob Nkate has apparently spurned offers for a diplomatic post preferring to make a political comeback by way of campaigning for the position of National Chairman of the ruling Botswana Democratic party.

The Telegraph has information that during a recent meeting with President Ian Khama, Nkate made it clear that he had made up his mind to rejoin active politics.

It was then that Khama hinted at the possibility of a diplomatic post abroad, ostensibly as a way of keeping him far away from the unfolding BDP succession debate which can only grow more complicated with his arrival.

Transparently ambitious, Nkate is suspected to harbour presidential ambitions.

Even though he was one of President Khama’s closest ministers, ever since he left politics, a clear distance has developed between the two men.

Close watchers attribute Khama’s aloofness to a realization that if Nkate comes back, he poses enough political capital to spurn Khama’s plans of a smooth succession.

Ever since he resigned from the Botswana Export Development and Investment Agency, it was clear that Nkate would want to come back to his first love, politics.

In an interview with The Telegraph, the former BDP Secretary General said he was still in the running for the chairmanship of the BDP and denied ever being approached by anyone with an offer to become an ambassador. 

“There is no such information. I have not been approached by anyone,” he said.

It is unclear whether Nkate, after being in the political wilderness for some time stills wields any measure of influence within the party similar to prior 2009 elections.

Nkate could find himself headed for a much tougher contest should Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, who is seen as the most preferred candidate, stand.

In a recent interview, Venson-Moitoi all but hinted that she was also in the running.

“I have been approached to stand and I am still weighing my options,” said Venson-Moitoi.

In the past, Nkate and Venson-Moitoi locked horns for the position of Deputy Secretary General.
At the time, Nkate emerged victorious.

But the dynamics have changed drastically. Nkate has not been publicly active in the BDP. And his star has been waning ever since he lost the Ngami constituency in the previous general election. 
A lot has happened in the party in his absence and some feel that Nkate should instead be aiming to resuscitate his political fortunes by launching himself at the position of secretary general which he left after President Ian Khama issued a moratorium banning cabinet ministers from simultaneously holding positions in the party executive.

Ever since the incumbent Botswana Democratic Party chairman, Daniel Kwelagobe, publicly announced that he will not be seeking re-election there has been intense lobbying. 


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