- All 14 regions endorsed Masisi while no region nominated Moitoi
- Moitoi unfazed by the endorsement
- Accuses Masisi of intimidating of her delegates
- Says they are summoned to State House
FRANCISTOWN: Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Presidential hopeful Dr Pelonomi Venson Moitoi is facing an uphill battle in the coming Presidential race, after the endorsement of her opponent, Mokgweetsi Masisi, by all 14 regions in the country.
The ruling BDP is expected to hold its elective congress in which Venson – Moitoi has broken party tradition by challenging the incumbent President on April 5th. As part of the national congress preparations scheduled for Kang, the BDP over the weekend completed the regional congresses that determine the delegates with nominations from the North East and Letswapo regions. Both regions endorsed Masisi as the preferred Presidential candidate over his opponent.
The endorsement of Masisi by all the 14 regions has cemented Masisi’s position in the Presidential race leaving his opponent with only a slim chance of giving him a serious contest. The endorsement of Masisi by all the regions signals a show of strength from the regions that is likely to ultimately translate into greater numbers of delegates than for the incumbent than for his opponent Moitoi.
To compound the problems that Venson Moitoi’s team is the recent fleeing of the chief campaign strategist Samson Guma Moyo who has been responsible for marshaling her campaign countrywide. The Tati-East Member of Parliament who is vying for the Secretary General position under Venson – Moitoi’s team fled the country last week claiming to be the subject of an assassination plot. His fleeing has not only affected Team Venson – Moitoi’s campaign but also his own, as he is unable to canvass support for himself for the Secretary General position.
Despite the endorsement of Masisi by all the 14 regions his opponent Moitoi is not bothered and remains unfazed. According to Venson- Moitoi, endorsements do not necessarily translate into Masisi having a greater chance at winning the presidency than her own. In her view, some of the endorsements are questionable due to serious violations of the party constitution and therefore she claims she is not bothered by them.
Venson Moitoi is confident and adamant that her name will also be nominated by her sponsors come the date of the elective congress,even if she was not nominated by any region. “People should not be bothered by the endorsement of Masisi by all the regions, they have to also understand that there are two ways of nominating a candidate. Its either by endorsement or using Article 29.3 of the constitution which states that any member in good standing may submit the name of an aspirant candidate for the post of president of the party to the Secretary General of the party no less than 24 hours before commencement of the applicable national congress upon being sponsored, in writing by not less than 50 delegates. So this is what is going to happen about my nomination. My supporters should remain calm because being endorsed by the region does not mean that you have automatically won the race. Therefore people should not think that all the delegates from these regions are going to vote for Masisi. So I am counting on the delegates from the same regions that endorsed Masisi because I am optimistic that they are my supporters,” Moitoi said in an interview.
While she is unfazed by the endorsement of Masisi, Venson Moitoi’s main worry is the intimidation her supporters are getting from Masisi. “Though I cannot divulge what they were told I can confidently confirm that some of my supporters were invited to the State House by Masisi and this eventually resulted in them being intimidated. It has to be noted that being summoned by the President alone is intimidation therefore this raises fear in them because they are questioned over their alignment,” Moitoi added.
Team Masisi Campaign Manager Slumber Tsogwane who is also the Vice President said they are hopeful of victory due to the support they have received from the constituencies and regions. “The endorsements of Masisi by all the regions have given us hope that we will win the Presidential elections. This also means that he has support countrywide and notably has the majority of delegates. The delegates are the ones that determine the results of the elections and by virtue of getting more support we are hopeful that Masisi is going to win the Presidential contest,” Slumber said in an interview.