MASISI Extends olive branch to rebellious bdp members

Says will he not suspend anyone who takes party to court


Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) President Mokgweetsi Masisi has ruled out suspending or taking any other form of disciplinary action against BDP members who take the party to court, stating that he is seeking to establish stability within the party and to promote democracy.

Since taking over as President, Masisi and the BDP have had to face a number of battles in court, some challenging the legitimacy of his leadership while some have felt aggrieved by the party structure.  “I have deliberately decided that all BDP members who take the party to court, I will not expel or suspend them from the party,” Masisi said on Saturday at the BDP South East Congress in Tlokweng.

“We are also not going to take them to disciplinary committee. This is because I want you, all BDP members to learn a lesson from this. As much as you are free, you must learn that the political objective is much larger than the individual. It is important for us to be stable as a party.”

BDP South East Regional Chairman Odirile Motlhalem also expressed concerns to President regarding the deteriorating divisions amongst BDP members and asked the President to reach a lasting solution in the growing internal discord.
Member of Parliament (MP) for Serowe West Tshekedi Khama, last year took the party to court, accusing the BDP of failing to take appropriate action against one of his opponents in the Bulela Ditswe primary elections, Moemedi Dijeng. No action was taken against the MP.

Earlier this year, Kamal Jacobs also dragged the BDP to court to challenge the legitimacy of state president, Masisi as party president. Jacobs went on to lose his case before Justice Michael Mothobi, who held that in accordance with Section 41(1) of the Constitution of Botswana a sitting president cannot be sued for actions he or she took in his or her private capacity.

On Sunday Moitoi told Bangwato, at a gathering in Serowe, that she has approached her lawyers over challenging Masisi’s leadership in court. She claimed that she was intimidated at the recent BDP Central regional meeting, which saw her failing to secure endorsement from Central Region congress.

In 2009, former President Ian Khama suspended the then BDP Secretary General, the late Gomolemo Motswaledi, for five years following the decision to challenge a 60 day suspension imposed on him by Khama, then BDP President, at the Lobatse High Court.

Ian Khama’s blue eyed boy Tshephang Mabaila remains the only prominent BDP parliamentary hopeful to have been suspended from the party under President Masisi. Mabaila was slapped with a five year suspension following revelation of his involvement in trying to bring down Masisi’s administration, a few months after the latter succeeded Khama. Mabaila has since announced that he will contest as a independent candidate.