FRANCISTOWN: Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) members aligned to Nonofo Molefhi in the run up to the party’s July congress say they are being intimidated by those aligned to Mokgweetsi Masisi who they accuse of using his name to justify violating the party constitution.
So serious is the rift that eight complaint letters have been written about the situation leading to the indefinite suspension of some of the region’s delegate elections.
In one of the letters written from Francistown East which The Botswana Gazette has seen, nominated councillor James Kgalajwe is criticized for “boasting” that he is untouchable as Masisi has funded him to discredit Molefhi’s supporters. It is further claimed that Kgalajwe, who is known to harbor ambitions to topple Billy Buti, has openly said that he was sent by Masisi to unseat the Francistown East MP.
“Recently during the delegates election Kgalajwe overruled the decisions taken by the election officer yet he is just a mere ex-officio member of the branch. In some instances, Kgalajwe brought some opposition cadres to vote while he knew that they do not appear in the party’s voters roll. Kgalajwe is doing all this because he claims that the Vice President has mandate him to make sure that he eliminates the support of the area MP within the constituency,” reads part of the letter.
Francistown regional chairman Baemedi Medupi confirmed receiving complaint letters, warning party members to not lose themselves in the intrigue of the upcoming Tonota congress. “Democrats have to understand that our party is run by the constitution not the congress. So, if we do not exercise caution this congress will leave us divided,” he said.
These allegations were however dismissed by Branch Secretary Modiri Jojo Lucas who is said to be the “ringleader” of those using Masisi’s name to intimidate Molefhi’s supporters and is said to be “interfering with delegate elections.”
“There is nothing like intimidation in our constituency, all the elections ran smoothly without any complaint. What I only know is that only one person raised a complaint about me,” he said. Lucas is known to have an interest in contesting in the BDP’s primary elections in Francistown.
For his part, Kgalajwe who was accused of boasting about resources Masisi gave him to de-campaign Molefhi’s supporters- said, “Those people are afraid that they are losing support on the ground, therefore they want the recent ward election results to be nullified.”
Medupi, the region chairman, said it was unfortunate that Masisi’s name was being used to intimidate others. “I do not believe our VP can send people to cause distractions and violate the party constitution, I think they are only using his name as a scapegoat,” he said.