Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Pasop DK! Khama’s plan could be a trap

Firstly let me mention that I had the opportunity to watch Former President Sir Ketumile Masire’s interview on Btv’s Matlhoaphage programme. The interview was very insightful. Masire revealed a lot in a few words. His language is always laced with idioms and parables and surely dunderheads will struggle to grasp the context of his statements. Oh and Masire has finally confirmed to the nation that his efforts to broker reconciliation between former members of the Barata-Phathi faction of the BDP (now BMD founders) and the BDP leadership were spurned by the Khama led Central Committee.

Masire is also against habitual compromises that stand in the way of Central Committee elections.

My subject is not really about Masire’s insightful interview. I mention it only because I have been dying to hear what he had to say about the political party that he founded and which now appears to have fallen in wrong hands. Thank you Rra Gaone. I wish you good health. Some of us understood you.

And so in one of his many spur-of-the-moment decisions, President Ian Khama declared, in the build up to the BDP Kanye congress, a moratorium on his Cabinet Ministers holding party and ministerial positions simultaneously. At the time, Khama’s ostensible reason was that ministers must give undivided attention to their ministerial duties and that the BDP was awash with other equally capable people who could steer the party forward. The reasons advanced seemed genuine to those who do not know the real Khama. I had my reservations on the true motives behind Khama’s unprecedented logic.

Up to this day, I am still convinced the whole reason was to get rid of Daniel Kwelagobe. In Khama’s mind, no man could choose to leave a ministerial position for a party position that is not even salaried. Kwelagobe left Khama gaping in disbelief and resigned from cabinet to contest for party chairmanship which Khama had earmarked for Tebelelo Seretse(I hope she‘ll watch her mouth and be diplomatic in the USA lest she embarrasses us). Now Khama finds himself entrapped in what was initially meant to trap Kwelagobe out of party leadership. Khama now faces severe drought of loyalists outside his Cabinet who can run the party at the pull of his strings. So far only Minister Kentse Rammidi has hinted his readiness to forgo his ministerial position for party office. Sources within the BDP have indicated that there are other ministers who harbor ambitions for party positions but would not want to relinquish their ministerial positions. Rumours are rife that Khama’s blue eyed boy, Minister of Presidential Affairs Mokgweetsi Masisi is amongst those who want to stand for party positions. It is said he wants to be the next Secretary General. No doubt, Khama loves and has confidence in Masisi. Surely Khama would be happy to have Masisi as Secretary General. The predicament now is, how will he allow him to occupy that seat without stepping down from cabinet where Khama needs him even more. More painful is the realization now, of how important it was for the position of secretary general to be held by a cabinet minister. Just look what happened after Khama brought in my home boy, Thato Kwerepe. I sometimes even forget he exists in the party hierarchy. Back in the years when Kwelagobe and then Jacob Nkate held the secretary general position they commanded so much power and respect across the country. They spoke with authority and oozed so much confidence. They used their ministerial positions to advance the interests of the BDP. Their presence was always felt and their existence had a purpose. Kwerepe is the worst and the most obscure secretary general in the history of the BDP. Kwerepe is so docile he is shamefully overshadowed even by insignificant party errand-boys like MacD Peloetletse who is just secretary for culture and publicity sub-committee. I know what Peloetletse has to say about his party but I can’t quote any single statement from Kwerepe.

Back to the former Army General! Should Khama lift the moratorium, he risks being seen as a man who does not have a clear stand over his decisions. If Khama goes back on his directive such a move might vindicate those who have always felt the decision was only targeted at Kwelagobe. Contrary to Khama’s assertion that peace prevails in the BDP, battle lines have already been drawn in the upcoming central committee elections, or rather compromise. Masisi’s supporters have started to discredit Rammidi. They say he is riding on the crest of the BDP victories in the recent by-elections where he was deployed as the campaign manager. They say Rammidi is overrated and doesn’t deserve the accolades because the BDP is winning the by-elections in constituencies that belonged to it anyway. They say the BDP wins not because of anything extraordinary from Rammidi but simply because of the large amounts of money that the party splashes out during by-elections.

I argued that Rammidi is street wise and chameleons easily with the ordinary man in the street but his detractors say they prefer Masisi because he displays some form of maturity, he is educated and unlike Rammidi he always looks presentable and would never be found at drinking spots. Well really, whoever gets the nod at the BDP is really none of my business. All I can comment on is the process that will lead to the appointment of that person. That is what brings in the issue of the envisaged compromise instead of elections. Khama has announced that he has assigned Kwelagobe the task of compiling names for determination of a compromise-appointed central committee. It appears Kwelagobe has agreed to this unscrupulous dispensation which smacks of cowardice and flies in the face of democracy. As he stretches his hand to the booby trap, Kwelagobe should bear in mind that at stake is his credibility and integrity because two years back he led a choir that sang hymns from the constitution which preaches the righteousness of a popularly elected leadership. Kwelagobe refused a compromise prior to Kanye and I don’t see why he should embrace it in Mahalapye. Khama is smart and strategic. He is just tapping his toes in anticipation and excitement as Kwelagobe walks leisurely towards the trap. Khama has come to live with the fact that Kwelagobe calls the shots in the BDP. It’s not that Khama has had a change of heart and now genuinely embraces Kwelagobe. The strategy is to use Kwelagobe now and dump him later. Khama will agree to leave Kwelagobe as party Chairman under the compromise deal and he is going to use this setup against Kwelagobe in 2013.

After two years Khama will just tell Kwelagobe to make way for others just like they would have done him in 2011. No matter how popular and relevant Kwelagobe would still be, Khama will tell him to step down. He will remind him, rightly so, that he benefited from the 2011 compromise and Kwelagobe will not have any excuse to refuse to a compromise and by its nature, a compromise entails yielding for others. What I see in Khama’s compromise deal is just for him to infiltrate the party leadership with his preferred loyalists. He shivers at the thought of elections. He fears Kanye might repeat itself in Mahalapye where the congress is to be held this July. The most painful thing about all this is, many in the BDP are against a compromise but they do not have the hearts and guts to tell Khama. Poor souls!

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