Minister of Health Dorcus Makgato made her detractors eat humble pie over the weekend when she dealt her opponent, Tshepo Wareus, a landslide victory for the Botswana Democratic Party ((BDP) Women’s Wing Chairperson seat during their congress held in Lobatse.
Sailing with 317 votes to Wareus’ 186 votes, the Makgato camp grabbed all the seats that were contested for. Sources within the BDP revealed to this publication during the congress that plans were hatched to ensure that Makgato does not get the seat. It was argued in some BDP quarters that Makgato detractors felt she is a newcomer to the BDP and should not be voted to lead the women wing. There were allegations of even some cabinet ministers and some members of the Central Committee having planted people on the ground to make sure delegates do not vote for Makgato.
“Delegates were also told that Makgato would not be able to lead the wing because she already has her table full due to her ministerial duties. We also hear that people were given money to entice them not to vote for Makgato,” claims a BDP member who is close to the developments.
Makgato, an MP for Sefhare-Ramokgonami, first became active in politics in 2009 when she was a nominated MP from the corporate world. She defeated the then Sefhare-Ramokgonami MP and Assistant Minister of Agriculture Oreeditse Molebatsi at the primary elections. She was seen as the most suitable replacement for the outgoing women’s wing Chairperson Caroline Lesang who was said to have failed her mandate.
In an interview after her victory, Makgato said the contest was difficult but was happy that the BDP women had chosen the one whom they wanted to advance their wishes. “I am happy for the BDP women for having confidence in me. They wanted someone who will take the women’s wing to greater heights. It was a difficult contest; there were many avenues, some which we did not even understand,” she said.
Makgato refused to divulge who she will rally behind for the party chairmanship come July at the Mmadinare elective congress. She said she would worry about that when the time approaches and dodged revealing whether she would support Ramadeluka Seretse or Tshekedi Khama, if he stands for the party chairmanship.
Makgato, who is seen as a hard working member of cabinet, said a minister should actively participate in the party structures so as to be close to those at the grass roots level. Wareus on the other hand conceded defeat and promised to work and support Makgato and her committee. Both camps dismissed claims of alleged sabotage.