- Masisi and Tsogwane counter Khama’s visit to Bobonong
- Masisi shows solidarity with Kgathi after Khama humiliation
In what appears to be a counter attack strategy, President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Vice President Slumber Tsogwane silently visited Bobonong (Monday) morning and had a tête-à-tête with area member of parliament Shaw Kgathi before meeting Kgathi’s family and other BDP members in the constituency. The Botswana Gazette can confirm that the meeting was held at the residential place of Kgathi’s mother, popularly known as Mma Seaparo in Bobonong. The previous night (Sunday), Kgathi invited his close relatives and his campaign team to come and ‘‘have tea with the president’’.
Masisi’s visit follows on the heels of former president Ian Khama’s visit to the constituency where he had gone to launch the Francisco Kgobokwe Trust, something that was construed within the party as a political campaign for Kgobokwe who is challenging Kgathi in the party’s primary elections slated for this coming weekend.
During his visit to Bobonong, Khama took a swipe at Kgathi and suggested that Babirwa should vote him out because he was “out of order and had no regard for royals”. Khama told the gathering that Kgathi tried to dissuade him from honouring Kgobokwe’s invitation. He also accused Kgathi of trying to stop tDikgosi in the Bobirwa area from attending Kgobokwe’s event. The former president heaped praises on Kgobokwe while disparaging Kgathi, something that was viewed as campaigning for Kgobokwe and de-campaigning Kgathi.
Khama has embarked on a country-wide tour addressing Kgotla meetings at selected constituencies in a move that is viewed as a calculated strategy to campaign for his preferred candidates as he tries to wrestle the control of the party from his successor following their much publicized differences.
It is alleged that before Khama showed up in Bobonong, Kgobokwe was Masisi’s preferred candidate over Kgathi but their bond has since been broken by Khama’s appearance. ‘‘Kgobokwe was Masisi’s favourite candidate and was even tipped to become Minister of Mineral Resources given his extensive knowledge in that portfolio,’’ a source close to Kgobokwe told this publication. He said it now appears Kgobokwe’s sudden relationship with Khama has cost him the confidence of Masisi.
Kgobokwe confirmed in an interview on Monday that while he had been made aware of Masisi’s presence in Bobonong, he was not scheduled to meet with him. ‘‘I just heard from social media. I am not scheduled to meet him,’’ Kgobokwe said. He said he respects both Khama and Masisi in equal measure as elders and leaders in the party.
Kgathi also confirmed Masisi’s visit and revealed that he had brought along Vice President Slumber Tsogwane. Kgathi said the two leaders had paid a private visit to his family. ‘‘It was brilliant,’’ he said in excitement.
Some BDP members who had already enlisted Khama for their campaign strategy are said to be panicking over the possible repercussions that will come in the aftermath of their public appearances with Khama.
‘‘Khama is a well organised man and as such he long confirmed and diarised all these kgotla meetings and walkabouts in the constituencies of his favourite candidates. They are now scared to stop him because while it gets them in Masisi’s bad books, it equally props up their campaigns because love or hate him, Khama is still popular especially in the rural areas,’’ a BDP insider disclosed.