Monday, March 20, 2023

‘I have not been approached to make way for Ndelu’ ÔÇô Bolele

Member of Parliament for Mahalapye West, Bernard Bolele, has said nobody approached him to make way for Ndelu Seretse.

Over the Christmas vacation the social media had gone viral on allegations that Bolele would step down in favour of Seretse who lost primary elections in Serowe North.

The rationale attached to the rumour was that Seretse was tipped to become Vice President.

Until he lost, Seretse was punted as a leading contender for the position of Vice President which falls vacant later this year when incumbent, Ponatshego Kedikilwe, retires.

A person chosen to replace Kedikilwe would almost certainly succeed Ian Khama as President of the Republic of Botswana.
Losing the primary elections has for now put paid to Seretse’s chances to become Vice President because under the constitution of Botswana a Vice President has to be a Member of Parliament who represents a constituency.

Thus as a matter of fact, Specially Elected MPs are precluded from becoming Vice Presidents.

“Nobody has approached me. I have also talked to Minister Seretse, and like me he is surprised where all this is coming from,” said Bolele.

To underscore the untrustworthiness of social media, Bolele said some of his constituents have been enquiring with him.
While it is not clear just how this reckless rumour could have found its way into the public discourse, there is a precedent to a sitting Member of Parliament making way for a Vice President Elect.

When he joined politics in 1998, the current president, Vice President Ian Khama, as he then was did not have a constituency.
A proposition was made to Roy Blackbeard who was a Member of Parliament for one of Serowe constituencies to make way for Khama.

Blackbeard obliged and he was in turn made Botswana’s High Commissioner to London, a much coveted posting in the diplomatic circles which he has held for 16 years hence making him one of the country’s longest serving diplomats; clearly a reward for the political sacrifices he made to his career in favour of Ian Khama.

Transplanting Ndelu Seretse who is a Serowe resident and plucking him on Mahalapye would also not altogether be a new precedent.

Former Vice President, Lt. General Mompati Merafhe, who is a Serowe resident represented Mahalapye in Parliament until he retired recently. After retirement Merafhe went back to Serowe, his real home village after selling a house he had acquired for political convenience in Mahalapye. Though a star performer in parliament, there were always murmurs that Merafhe should make way for a true Mahalapye child.

This is notwithstanding the fact that there is no law barring any Motswana from seeking to stand in places outside their birth places.


Read this week's paper