- Say he would have prevented them from airing their views
- Accuse VP of being a self-seeker too eager to please Masisi
- Balopi says there was nothing wrong in wanting the VP out of meeting
Back benchers of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) specifically asked for Vice President Slumber Tsogwane to be excluded from their meeting with President Mokgweetsi Masisi yesterday (Tuesday), The Botswana Gazette has established.
According to some of the back benchers who attended the meeting but cannot be quoted, Tsogwane was not wanted in the meeting because MPs hold that he has failed to properly advance their issues to the President on several occasions for the reason that his abiding goal is to impress Masisi for himself. “You can even see how hard he tries in Parliament,” a high ranking BDP member weighed in. “He is trying hard to be what (the late vice president) Mompati Merafhe was for Ian Khama. Merafhe was Khama’s attack dog but he did it with a lot of charisma and a high level of intelligence.”
The MP for Mmadinare, Molebatsi Molebatsi, has confirmed that Tsogwane – who is also the Chairman of the BDP – was not a part of the meeting but would not elaborate.
“We did not want him to be in the meeting because he would have done everything he could to deny us a chance to express ourselves,” said another backbencher who preferred anonymity. “Nkare motho a tshaba Masisi (He is like one afraid of Masisi).”
According to other back benchers, the stance against Tsogwane was also fuelled by a widely-held view among MPs that the Vice President is an under performer. As a result, some MPs hardly ever consult the party leadership on key issues.
According to the Secretary General of the BDP, Mpho Balopi, the leadership of the party saw nothing wrong in the back benchers asking to meet the President without the Vice President present.
Having first been elected to Parliament in 1999, Tsogwane is currently the longest serving MP. President Masisi has previously said his reasons for appointing Tsogwane as his number two was informed by a need to revive stability and unity in the BDP. Like Masisi, Tsogwane is a teacher by profession.