Venson Moitoi faction ditch Merafhe

The twists and turns of jostling for Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) central committee positions continue. Former Vice President Lieutenant General Mompati Merafhe was supposedly included as an additional member in the Education Minister Pelonomi Venson Moitoi’s lobby list. Over the weekend, The Gazette received yet another lobby list from a reliable source suggesting that Merafhe had been dropped and replaced by the Minister of Local Government Botlhogile Tshireletso. Tshireletso, who is also an MP for Mahalapye East and Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, has since denied she has central committee ambitions.


According to a reliable source, Moitoi’s lobby did not consult with Merafhe who it is said was not happy with the development. Tshireletso also told Duma FM radio station that neither she nor her constituents were consulted. “They are now confusing people, we are only left with a month before the congress and they are still fumbling,” the sourced lamented at the seemingly vacillation of some proposed candidates.


Other additional members in the Venson Moitoi camp include Daniel Kwelagobe, Fedelis Molao, John Benn, and Puma Mathware. At the helm of the team is Venson Moitoi as chairperson, Isaac Seloko as secretary general and his deputy as Bontsi Monare. Satar Dada appears in both lobby lists as treasurer albeit assisted by Kagiso Mmusi in the Venson Moitoi list. The lobby has an uphill battle against Guma Moyo who is the prospective chairperson in the other lobby group. Mpho Balopi will challenge for the secretary general position, Malebogo Kruger for deputy secretary general and Thapelo Olopeng for treasurer. Additional members for the camp are Kitso Seloma, Lesego Raditanka, Abel Molelo, Mmapula Phuduhudu and Victor Motobake.


It is rumoured that the BDP pre-elective congress factions are sponsored behind the scenes by some Chinese and Indians business people. The Chinese are said to be behind Moyo’s camp allegedly to safeguard their business interests through political influence in the ruling party. Chinese businesses have been criticised for bad business practices such as corruption, poor workmanship and unfair labour practices. It is said that they hope to buy political influence through the Moyo faction so as to safeguard their besieged investments. Indians are rumoured to be backing the Venson Moitoi faction. The Indians, whose influence is minimal relative to that of Chinese in Botswana’s economy, are said to be in search of sympathisers in the ruling party and have since found solace in the Venson Moitoi camp. They are said to be especially worried by obstacles to Indian investments in Botswana particularly the recent deportation of Indian nationals in large numbers.