- Sources say Kentse is no longer Masisi’s preferred choice
- Elective congress may not even take place
The race for the next Secretary General (SG) of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)) seems to be heating up behind the scenes, The Botswana Gazette has established. According to sources, five, if not more, candidates are ready to challenge incumbent Mpho Balopi in this year’s elective congress whose dates have yet to be decided. However, although Balopi told The Botswana Gazette in a previous interview that he was yet to make up his mind about running for the position that he holds, those close to these developments say he is steeling himself to take on his challengers.
Newly elected MP for Kanye North, Thapelo Letsholo, is said to be one the latest to throw his name into the hat, which he himself denies. But reports have been doing the rounds that Letsholo has been approached by some younger members of the BDP about making a bid for the SG position.
Another new name is said to be that of former SG, Kentse Rammidi, who returned to the BDP in April 2018 from the Botswana Congress Party (BCP). Although his bid is not being tumpeted as strongly as some of the others, he is believed to be considering pitching himself as a candidate. Rammidi proved hedging when contacted for comment yesterday (Monday). Former cabinet minister Boyce Sebetlela, current Deputy SG Shaw Kgathi, and former chairman of Domkrag’s National Youth Eexecutive Council Lesang Magang are among more names that have been mentioned as being intersted in becoming the next SG of the BDP. Another former minister, Alfred Madigele, has been open about his desire to become SG.
But in the twists and turns of politics, the party’s head of communication, Banks Kentse, who was for some time touted as President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s preferred choice for the next SG, does not enjoy such exceptional support any more, sources say. Some members have reportedly advised the President giving his blessing to Kentse on account of ther latter’s status as greenhorn in both politics and Domkrag. In a previous interview, Kentse himself did not rule out contesting his ruuning if was approached. President Masisi is yet to announce dates for the elective congress. It is only afterwards that those interested in running for Central Committee (CC) positions can so decalre themselves openly.
BACKBENCHERS WANT MINISTERS BARRED FROM HOLDING CC POSITIONS
Meanwhile, some BDP backbenchers are reportedly against cabinet ministers holding positions on the Central Committee and want them barred from running as candidates for election to such positions. In their view, holding too many positions by the same individuals compromises service delivery.
Be that as it may, government whip Liakat Kablay says the proposal has not been brought before the party’s leadership. But a more critical snippet of information reaching The Botswana Gazette is that this year’s much-vaunted BDP congress may not even take place because the party’s chairman Slumber Tsogwane is dead against it. And although no one was prepared to come forward on the matter, Tsogwane – who is also the country’s Vice President, is understood to have the support of incumbent Secretary General, Mpho Balopi, in the BDP having no congress this year. Tsogwane’s view is that the BDP postponed its elective congress last year to the next scheduled elective congress because of the 2019 general elections.
His reasoning derives from the fact that BDP elective congresses are biennial affairs that come once in every two years, which falls due only next year. However, those who disagree with this position hold the view that the elective congress was postponed last year to this year and so should take place.