Former cabinet minister and Speaker of the National Assembly, Margaret Nasha who has defected from the ruling party to join opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change has said the level of abuse she has had to keep with inside her former party had become unbearable.
She however said she leaves the BDP not out of any anger or bitterness.
This was responding to her detractors who have been harping on an allegation that she is leaving the BDP because she lost to Gladys Kokorwe in her quest to retain the position of House Speaker.
“Losing the position is something I saw coming. So I was prepared for it. That is why I vacated the official residence two weeks before the matter went to court. The only thing I did not like about that phase was the length at which people went out of their way to defame her,” said Nasha in an interview with The Telegraph.
During that time President Ian Khama openly canvassed Members of Parliament from his party to back Kokorwe against Nasha.
Things came to a head when Khama told ruling party MPs that Nasha was an opposition supporter, imploring them to carefully scrutinize her dress code, hinting that her wardrobe colours sold her away.
Nasha said over the last 15 months since she left the national assembly, a lot of negative things have been said about her by those in the BDP leadership.
She however said she kept quiet hoping that would be temporary.
“I wanted to be quiet for as long as I could, and also stay at a distance. But the hatred demonstrated during the election of Speaker was unparalleled. I thought it would be temporary. I was wrong. I am not angry, I am not bitter but it was clear the BDP wanted me dead and buried.”
Other than that she said she came to see that her former party had lost its way on a number of decisions that were being taken casually but with enormous negations consequences for the nation and country.
It was then that she chose to keep away from politics and look at things play out from a distance.
What she saw saddened and disheartened her, she said. It also hurt her deeply that nobody in her party wanted to talk to her.
She was like a leper, so to speak.
“The straw that broke the camel’s back was the suspension of judges. That was the turning point. That hurt me deeply. I could not sleep. Not because of the personalities involved, but because of the implications for the judiciary, but also for the country.”
She says all these years Botswana’s judiciary has been the strongest, most believable and indeed most important compared to those in other African countries.
“I fear that after what happened that independence will be no more. Batswana need to be taught these things,” she said.
But just why does the BDP hate her so much?
“I speak my mind. I am hated because I speak my mind. Those who know me will tell you that it has never been by way to hide my feelings ÔÇô not inside Government and certainly not inside the party,’ she said.
At the UDC Nasha is expected to among other things play a key role as a lead advisor to party leaders Duma Boko and Ndaba Gaolathe.
“Although Dr Nasha had pleaded to join as an ordinary member and activist, she has been prevailed upon to take on, given her experience, the role of advisor to the key offices at the level of the UDC and affiliate/contracting party levels, an assignment we are confident she will dispatch with distinction,” said Gaolathe in a statement announcing Nasha’s arrival inside the UDC.