President Ian Khama’s strained relations with the ruling party Central Committee recently will undergo a further test when they meet for the first time tomorrow (Monday).
This comes in the wake of a unilateral decision by Khama to renew the Executive Secretary’s contract without consulting the Central Committee.
Khama is facing charges of hiring Batlang Serema by stealth.
While Dr. Serema’s contract was due to expire in January 2010, Sunday Standard can reveal that this past week, Serema had his contract renewed by a further three years.
The renewal came directly from President Khama.
The BDP Secretary General, Gomolemo Motswaledi, who supervises Serema on behalf of the Central Committee, was not consulted.
Indications are that Khama’s move was a calculated one aimed at upsetting the incoming Central Committee many of whom had never made a secret of their disdain for Serema, who they look at as a part and parcel of the vanquished Merafhe/Nkate faction.
In an interview with The Sunday Standard, Serema confirmed that Khama had extended his contract.
“I can confirm that he has extended my contract of employment for three years,” Serema told The Sunday Standard.
He would not be drawn into the details of whether or not his immediate supervisor, Motswaledi, was part of the decision, save to say the extension of the contract will now bring about the much needed certainty and stability at Tsholetsa House.
“I can’t answer on how the president consulted,” he said.
Party National Chairman, Daniel Kwelagobe, also said he knew nothing about Serema’s new contract.
“I am not aware; I know nothing,” said Kwelagobe.
National Treasurer Satar Dada also said he has not been briefed and said it was possible the issue will come at the next Central Committee meeting scheduled for tomorrow (Monday).
“The issue might probably be discussed at the next Central Committee meeting,” said Dada, adding that he could not comment any further.
While the BDP Legal Advisor, Parks Tafa, would also not comment on circumstances surrounding the employment of the party CEO, Sunday Standard can confirm that Serema’s new contract has pitted Motswaledi against Khama. The two hold fundamentally different views of law and interpretation on the procedures that have to be followed in employing the party’s Executive Secretary.
While under normal circumstances the appointment of the Executive Secretary would be a routine and innocuous exercise, under the present conditions there is nothing normal with the BDP’s internal relations.
During the campaigns leading to the Kanye Congress, Serema was often accused of using his position as Executive Secretary to push the line of the Merafhe/Nkate faction against their nemesis in the other camp led by Kedikilwe and Kwelagobe.
Serema has also not escaped the wrath of the BDP Youth Wing, who are perceived to be aligned to the Kwelagobe faction.