President Ian Khama has resisted pressure from some senior members of the ruling party Central Committee to sack Minister of Education, Jacob Nkate.
Following an official statement by the Botswana Democratic Party secretariat that no action would be taken against Minister Nkate, Sunday Standard can confirm that some elements within the party took it upon themselves to personally approach the president to register their displeasure that Nkate would be keeping his job after all.
They are calling for Nkate’s dismissal.
Last month, under clear instructions from President Khama, the BDP secretariat wrote a statement indicating that Nkate will not take the fall, not least because he did not personally benefit from the patronage by NIIT.
When the news broke out that NIIT, a private tertiary education institution, had donated some campaign T-shirts to Nkate’s Ngami constituency, the opposition cried foul, calling for Nkate’s head on allegations of possible conflict of interest.
But Khama stood his ground in support of Nkate.
As it turns out, there are still some influential voices inside the BDP who agree with the opposition Botswana Congress Party that Nkate should have been sacked.
The senior BDP members who have approached Khama on the matter are said to be worried that the allegations surrounding Nkate’s relationship with NIIT have embarrassed the party and government.
This has had the effect of souring relations inside the party.
“The current problem consuming the BDP is that there are people who are also dabbling with the BCP. We know that the people who are calling for Nkate’s resignation have also been sponsoring the BCP,” said one BDP Central Committee member.
“It is true there has been this meeting with the president which was held behind Nkate’s back. I think that is unfortunate,” he continued, adding that Nkate has since communicated his displeasure to those who have been lobbying to get him sacked.
Nkate, who is the party’s National Secretary, is a powerful figure inside the party and sensing his vulnerability, his loyalists are said to be rallying tightly behind him.