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Mogae shuns BDP

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Mogae routinely turns down BDP invites

The former president has turned his back on the party at a time when Domkrag is facing an unprecedented frontal assault from an unusually well-resourced opposition

TEFO PHEAGE

Former president Festus Mogae will not come to the aid of troubled Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in the imminent elections and has rejected all BDP invitations and requests, The Botswana Gazette has established.

The outspoken former BDP leader has previously participated in the party’s campaigns and fundraising activities where his presence always added value. But not anymore. At a time when the BDP needs him the most because it is encircled by hostile forces like never before, The Gazette can confirm that Mogae is not keen on partaking in this year’s elections and prefers watching from the sidelines as a spectator.

The former president’s spokesperson, Rhee Hetanang, says the 80 year-old Mogae’s statesman is clear about keeping his distance from his party’s campaign trail. “It is true that there are some requests from the BDP but the former president has not acceded to any of them and will not accede to any of them,” Hetanang says. “He is giving priority to non-political assignments. When the requests come, the former president responds and communicates his unavailability.”

Despite this, the BDP still hopes that the former party leader will show up and help in the fight against what looks like a well-resourced opposition this time around. To that end, the party’s national campaign manager, Tebelelo Seretse, says the BDP will continue to engage Mogae and other BDP icons and elders who are in retirement.

In the 2014 elections, Mogae launched Daniel Kwelagobe at Lewis Memorial Primary School grounds in Molepolole where he labelled Kwelagobe a go-getter and a hard working politician who had served all of Botswana’s four presidents. “I am happy to launch Kwelagobe,” he said. “He is the one who advocated for the youth to be given the opportunity to be in parliament. Like Winston Churchill, Kwelagobe has become the father of the National Assembly.”

As elder statesman, Mogae has in recent years become an international icon, participating in several international missions all geared towards advancing the interests of humanity. A source close to the former president says he is so particular about his image that he has backtracked from almost all engagements that may threaten it.

“Mogae has never been a politician, really. He has always been a man of class. He doesn’t like politics because of the dirty mudslinging associated with it that spares no one. In politics nobody is spared,” said a close ally of Mogae’s who hinted that like his predecessor the late Ketumile Masire, Mogae was drawing close to certain leaders of the opposition.

While Mogae has previously expressed support for Masisi, he has also pronounced himself as being happy with some opposition leaders. “Mogae went further to endorse the president of the Alliance for Progressives, Ndaba Gaolathe,” said the source.

Indeed, Mogae once told a newspaper: “There are some guys in the opposition that I like, like Baledzi’s son, Ndaba. Yes, I endorse him. I am more sympathetic to him than I am to the others. He is a clever young man. I also see the young Shaleshando (Dumelang). He is an effective politician.”

The former president has however come down hard on his successor, Ian Khama, saying the latter had run the country as a ruler and not a president.

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