- Says it would be unfortunate if anyone viewed his candidature for the BDP chairmanship in a bad light
- Sees recent by-election losses of the BDP as a symptom of a party in poor shape
It has become a norm across Botswana’s political spectrum for those who dare to challenge political party leaders to be treated with disdain and contempt. Even so, former minister Nonofo Molefhi says he will run for the chairmanship of the Botswana Democratic Party in the belief and hope his decision will be respected as an exercise of constitutional right.
When she raised her hand to run for the presidency of the BDP, former minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi was regarded in a bad light by other members of the party and political enemies.
In an interview with The Botswana Gazette about the antagonism that his decision to challenge Vice President Slumber Tsogwane as the incumbent Chairman of the BDP may provoke, Molefhi said he is ready. In fact, he said he sees his decision as picking from where he left off in 2017 when he lost to Mokgweetsi Masisi, now president, in the race for the chairmanship of the BDP.
At that time, Molefhi lost to then Vice President Masisi by a considerable margin, managing a paltry 261 votes against Masisi’s 769 at the party’s 37th national congress that was held in Tonota.
“The conviction that I had in 2017 has not changed regarding the BDP as an organisation and the need to strengthen it institutionally,” he told The Gazette. “That my decision to contest for the chairmanship of the party’s top office may be viewed in a bad light by some is unfortunate.”
“The constitution of the party creates avenues for institutional capacity building and renewal. Those in the top positions of the party got there through the same constitutional provision under Article 30.1. Circumstances being normal, my decision should be seen as an innocent eventuality provided by the arty constitution.”
Molefhi added he has courteously “informed both His Excellency the President Dr Masisi and His Honour the Vice President Tsogwane about my decision and they gave it the thumbs up”.
“We are all a team,” he emphasised. “The desire by any member of the party to serve can only be a good thing enriching the organisation. The BDP is currently undergoing a difficult time as evidenced by the recent by-election losses. I am fortunate that I am currently unencumbered by any assignments and with the time I have on my hands, I would like to commit to serving the party in the capacity of Chairman.”
The chairmanship position is a powerful one in the BDP. According to the constitution of the party, the chairman doesn’t only work hand-in-hand with the President of the country and should act for the President when the party is not in power.
“In the event of a vacancy in the office of the President of the Party occurring at a time when the party is not in power, the chairperson of the party shall act as the president of the party until the next congress,” reads the BDP constitution.