Khama’s Headache

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) looks set to face a tumultuous 5 years as the decades old faction problem rears its head. A source in the party says Khama who has received plaudits for dealing with the problem is unable to deal with emerging challenges at BDP as none of his political allies carry the necessary clout to win any meaningful position at the ruling party. According to the source, veterans who would otherwise support Khama like Jacob Nkate and Tebelelo Seretse are still unhappy with the treatment they got at the hands of Khama and even if they were willing to back him, the President is not too trusting of the duo. “Tebelelo and Nkate have been working really hard despite being out of the country. As you know there is currently tension between Nkate and Khama following WikiLeaks. Nkate would be the most ideal person and most supporters of Khama would likely side with him but Khama does not trust anybody at the moment lest of all Nkate” the source says. It is alleged that Seretse and Nkate feel Khama abandoned them after the Kanye congress with Tebelelo Seretse feeling particularly aggrieved as she feels she was used to try and neutralise Kwelagobe who Khama had declared at the time that he could not work with. Following Kwelagobe’s win and Seretse’s subsequent loss at the BDP primaries, Seretse’s was allegedly left disgruntled as she had expected a local appointment that would have given her an opportunity to campaign for the party chairmanship. “Nkate and Seretse (Tebelelo) feel they were exiled” the source claimed.

It is understood that factions were never completely destroyed as they have been working hard underground to position themselves when the very powerful and popular Khama steps down. It is further understood that it is no longer a matter of Barata Phathi against A team as used to be the case as BDP strongmen have realigned into different factions with some members of the erstwhile factions having switched sides. This according to the source means the President is fighting blind as he cannot play factions off against each other the way his predecessor Mogae used to do. “If I was to ask you what side is Moyo Guma on what would you say? Who are his allies? The factions have changed character and purpose and the president has been unable to track these events mostly because he surrounded himself with political novices who don’t have their fingers on the pulse of the party,” the source, a party veteran said.

It is understood that the different factions are gearing up to test whether Khama is still as powerful and popular within the BDP as he was when he first came into the BDP with the likelihood of both factions going against Khama’s wishes very high. The emergence of new politicians has further muddied waters as the likes of Biggie Butale-who is said to be eyeing the position of Chairman-have further complicated the situation as it is unclear which side they are on or who is backing them.  The alleged tension between Khama and former Minister of Defence Justice and Security Ramadeluka Seretse has as a result left Khama with even fewer options. Ramadeluka Seretse allegedly fell out with Khama over DIS Isaac Kgosi.

The BDP has yet to officially announce any interest in party positions going into their congress in July.
Biggie Butale has confirmed that he will be contesting for the BDP Chairmanship.  He says he is certain of a win, saying he has a good number of supporters from Mps, cabinet ministers and ordinary members.

Former Minister Ramadeluka Seretse also confirmed his interest in the post. He is also adamant of a win as he says party members have agreed to support him. He however rubbished allegations that there are some tensions between him and President Ian Khama.