Domkrag ministers, backbenchers kiss and make up

  • Masisi meeting with backbenchers bears results
  • ‘Sisiboy’ stemmed imminent defections of ‘unwanted’ MPs


President Mokgweetsi Masisi has finally intervened in internecine tensions that have characterised relations between ministers of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and the backbench of the ruling party, The Botswana Gazette has established.

In fact, BDP Chief Whip Liakat Kablay says the tensions between the two sides are as good as over. According to the MP for Letlhakeng-Lephepe, Masisi’s meeting with the backbenchers a fortnight ago was “very timely”.

“To be honest, there was tension between the ministers and backbench and the President was made aware of it,” Kablay, who has been among outspoken backbenchers, said in an interview this week. “It is true that some MPs felt unwanted in the party and these were some of the issues we presented to President Masisi.

“What I can now confirm to you is that the tension between the backbench and ministers is now history. We are now one united party and we are ready to deliver what we promised Batswana in our manifesto.”

Kablay noted that it was “very much against the BDP norm” for backbenchers to meet the President without his ministers. “As a parent, he was obviously concerned about what is being said in the media in relation to these growing tensions and I believe that is the main reason why he agreed to meet with the backbenchers,” he said.

“The relationship between the backbench and ministers is now much better. You can even see the manner in which they give out their answers in Parliament. They even engage and consult us on a lot of issues. Some of the MPs who felt unwanted appear to be happy now.”

For his part, the Secretary General of the BDP, Mpho Balopi, says it is normal for people in a party to have differences. “We are one party and do need each other,” he told The Gazette. “What is important is that people should understand that whoever is on the front bench today could be on the backbench tomorrow. What is even more important is that we need to drive and deliver upon our promises to those who voted for us.”