- The President allegedly wants Serame for top seat
- Opposing camp accuses Masisi of causing divisions
One of two opposing sides in the women’s wing of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has complained that the use of President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s name by the other side could cause instability and divisions within the women’s wing ahead of the party’s elective congress, The Botswana Gazette has established.
Masisi is accused of endorsing Minister Peggy Serame for the presidency of the BDP women’s wing to the detriment of others aiming to compete for the same position.
So far Serame and former National Youth Executive Committee (NYEC) member Ponana Maano Gabanakgosi have declared their interest to run for the position. However, though campaigning is yet to be officially sanctioned by the party, supporters and sympathisers of the two are at each other’s throats, mainly on social media platforms.
At the centre of the rift is an allegation that Serame’s campaign team uses the President’s name to intimidate the other camp. Gabanakgosi’s team holds that use of Masisi’s name by the Serame campaign has the potential to result in instability within the party.
Information reaching this publication suggests that although Masisi cannot openly endorse either candidate, his heart is with Serame whom it is believed he wants to groom for candidacy of Goodhope Mabule constituency in the next general elections.
“We do not know how true it is that Masisi has endorsed Serame but democrats were long warned about this during former president Ian Khama’s tenure,” says a source. “But true or not true, using the name of the President can be intimidating to opponents. Some of democrats who sympathise with Gabanakgosi are now uncomfortable that they may be seen as going against Masisi’s preference.”
But Gabanakgosi herself is sceptical that Masisi has endorsed Serame an says the rumours are hogwash. “I am aware that some people are using the President’s name to campaign for Serame but I take that as hogwash,” she told The Botswana Gazette.
“I do not want to believe that our President can endorse any candidate over others because he is aware of the impact. I want to believe that those people are doing that in order to intimidate my potential supporters.”
Although Serame’s supporter Kaisara Sejoe, who is Deputy Secretary of the Gaborone region, said he could not discuss such issues openly because campaigning is yet to be officially sanctioned, he referred to Serame as the right candidate to lead the wing.
“I do not want to meddle in the affairs of the women’s wing because the campaign is yet to be officially sanctioned,” Sejoe said. “But I believe Serame is the right candidate. She is one person who believes in unity and she fits in all classes of across communities.”