Assistant Minister of Local Government, Kentse Rammidi, says he was heartbroken to see so many people he had for many years closely worked with inside the Botswana Democratic Party break away to form Botswana Movement for Democracy.
In a recent interview with The Telegraph, Rammidi said many of the people who are today in the BMD leadership are the people who initiated him in politics, when he became active in 1999.
He said while he had never really belonged to any, least of all the Barata-Phathi faction, he had had a close political relationship with many of the faction’s functionaries, especially Botsalo Ntuane.
Ntuane, who is now the Interim Deputy Chair of BMD, is also the Leader of Opposition in parliament.
Ntuane was BDP Executive Secretary for ten years.
“I was heartbroken when those guys left the party [BDP]. I tried to stop them; I failed,” said Rammidi.
In an unusually candid and heartfelt interview for a sitting cabinet minister, Rammidi said BDP members should be grateful that Daniel Kwelagobe chose not to go with many of the people who used to be his strongest and most passionate supporters.
He said the BDP would forever be indebted to Kwelagobe for staying behind.
“I admire him [Kwelagobe] for his courage for staying behind even as his supporters left. Today people admire Kwelagobe for keeping the BDP intact,” said Rammidi.
Rammidi said he still nurses hopes that one day many people who broke away to form the BMD would come back to rejoin the BDP.
“I always knew there were factions inside the BDP. But I was na├»ve and never thought they would somehow break away from the party.”
Rammidi, who is rooting to become the BDP Secretary General after the July Congress, has also endorsed Kwelagobe for the position of National Chairman.
“I have always been sympathetic to Kwelagobe, of course, with the influence of Botsalo [Ntuane].”
Ntuane is regarded as Kwelagobe’s political godson, mentored by the veteran politician from as early as when the young politician was a student at University of Botswana where he founded the BDP’s campus cells.
The two were to later on work closely together at Tsholetsa House when Ntuane became Executive Secretary, working under direct supervision of Kwelagobe when he was the BDP Secretary General.