April 4 2010: Kweneng South East Member of Parliament Mmoloki Raletobana, who is linked to a Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) planned splinter party, is negotiating a truce with the BDP behind the back of his breakaway colleagues.
Raletobana is among seven BDP parliamentarians who are facing disciplinary action for attending a recent meeting at the Big Five Lodge in Mogoditshane that resolved to form a breakaway party.
Although the members of the planned breakaway party have nominated five members ÔÇô believed to be group hawks – to negotiate on behalf of the group against the BDP in peace talks chaired by former President Sir Ketumile Masire, it has emerged that Raletobana has been holding meetings with the BDP leadership outside the structures set up by members of Barata-Phathi faction.
Raletobana confirmed this week that he had met Vice President Lt Gen Mompati Merafhe and President Ian Khama “to resolve the crisis in the BDP”.
He told the Sunday Standard that, “I am still a member of the BDP, the party leadership has not done anything wrong to me, but I am with Barata-Phathi because we share the same principle and are unhappy with the goings on inside the BDP. I however feel that we should give reconciliation a chance.”
At the time of going to press, BDP insiders maintained that Raletobana had broken ranks with Barata-Phathi and returned to the party fold, while Barata ÔÇô Phathi insiders insisted that the MP was still part of them and had assured them.
Raletobana told Sunday Standard that he had not abandoned Barata-Phathi and poured scorn on claims that he had joined the A-team faction.
The Member of Parliament believes that the two factions can still make peace and he tried to convince the BDP leadership to open negotiations with Barata-Phathi. It is understood that Khama asked Raletobana to write a letter proposing that Barata-Phathi should be called to apologize. The president allegedly promised to present Raletobana’s case to the party central committee.
Raletobana, however, told The Sunday Standard that during his meetings with the party leadership, they never made any demands, “and I never made any demands and simply advised them on the wisdom of negotiating with Barata-Phathi to try and save the BDP”.
BDP insiders say Raletobana is worried that the breakaway party is moving too fast leaving his constituents behind. It is understood that he has requested time to consult with his constituency first.