The race for the treasurer’s position of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), the only one up for grabs so far, has begun.
Those said to be interested are the deputy treasurer and businessman, Kagiso Mmusi, former BDP youth chairman and businessman, Lesang Magang, and yet another businessman, Mpho Balopi, who are said to be front runners in the race for the position.
The incumbent treasurer, Satar Dada, has not ruled out the possibility of running.
Balopi played his cards close to his chest when quizzed by the Sunday Standard on whether or not he is interested to contest for the position.
“Yes I have been approached by several people within the party to contest but I have not given them a yes or no answer. I am still considering the request and will announce my position at the appropriate time. There are inner party processes that have to run before I can make a pronouncement,” Balopi told the Sunday Standard.
Magang seemed taken aback by suggestions that he is training his sights on the treasurer’s position and offered that no one has approached him to contest. If anything, he says, he is satisfied with his current role within the party.
“There is a big difference between being in the Finance Committee of the BDP and being treasurer. I currently enjoy my role [Member of the Finance Committee] as there are a few meetings with no buck stopping with me. I get to do my odd debates for the party just to deflate a few egos in the opposition,” Magang told the Sunday Standard.
Dada himself was baffled that there are other contenders. To the best of his knowledge, he claims, his natural successor, should democrats decide that he relinquishes the reigns, would be his deputy Mmusi. He nevertheless said he has no qualms with anyone who wishes to take the reins from him.
“I have always wanted someone to take over because I don’t believe in holding on forever. I have been holding the position because people wanted me to and I also wanted to serve my party,” said Dada.
Asked if he still wants to be elected treasurer, Dada said he would stand if democrats still want him.
Mmusi could not be reached for comment.
The BDP executive secretary, Dr. Coma Serema, told the Sunday Standard that while the National Congress has recommended that at the coming Elective Congress elections should be conducted on a compromise basis, it is not a given.
“The elective congress has the power to accept or reject the recommendations of the National Congress. The upcoming Elective Congress will have to take a position whether or not it agrees with the recommendations of the National Congress,” Serema said.
The BDP leadership resolved, at the party’s National Congress last year, that party positions should be contested on a compromise basis to avert a scenario that played itself out following the aftermath of the 2009 Kanye Congress.
The congress saw one faction of the party, Barata-phathi, go against the wishes of the party President Ian Khama to vote into the central committee his preferred candidates. The faction defied Khama and campaigned openly for its preferred candidates and emerged triumphant over Khama in the elections. This culminated into a stand-off, an ugly one, between the President and some members of the central committee after Khama stood BDP tradition on its head and unilaterally appointed sub-committee members who virtually ran party affairs. Consequently, two members of the central committee resigned in protest describing the central committee as a “Mickey mouse grouping” in that the party President imposed his decisions on it only for it to rubber stamp them.