- President shuts elders out of party and govt affairs
- Has not met BDP elders since SoE
- Magang, Balopi, DK all left out
President Mokgweetsi Masisi is reported to have shut key Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) elders out, including Patrick Balopi, David Magang and Daniel Kwelagobe, The Botswana Gazette has established.
Masisi is said to be stinting them of both the party and government affairs.
While former cabinet minister David Magang, who is a member of the BDP elders committee, did not want to be drawn on the matter, inside sources say the committee has made numerous attempts to meet and engage with the President to no avail.
The elders are said to have wanted to engage with President Masisi on the state of the party and the country. This committee includes Patrick Balopi, Gaositwe Chiepe, Joyce Seleka, Peter Seile, David Magang, David Kwelagobe and Lesedi Mothibamele.
The President and the BDP have been under pressure from within the ruling party and from the opposition since the first state of emergency (SoE) in April 2020. Botswana exited the SoE at the end of September 2021, closing a chapter of heightened accusations of corruption and abuse of power levelled at President Masisi and the government.
The elders had wanted to meet with the President in order to understand and appreciate how things were going in the presidency and the country but the President stalled to a point where the elders seem to have given up on meeting him any time soon.
Masisi held regular meetings with BDP elders prior to the 2019 general elections.
BDP head of communications, Kagelelo Kentse, has told this publication that meeting arrangements between the President and the BDP council of elders were mostly done without involvement of the central committee.
“They have a direct link to the President and it is not mandatory for them to request to meet him through the Central Committee.” Kentse said, adding that he was not aware of any recent meeting between Masisi and the elders.
According to the BDP constitution, “the National Council of Elders is appointed by the President for such duration and on such terms and conditions that the President, acting on advice of the Central Committee, determines from time to time.”
Its core mandate is to give counsel and advice. It carries out functions that the Central Committee may from time to time delegate to it. These may include investigations, arbitration and reconciliation of differences and disputes that may arise within the party structures and/or members.”