When Gomolemo Motswaledi was expelled from the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and formed the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) in 2010, many from the ruling party followed, attributing the exodus to then president Ian Khama's 'dictatorship'.
Many prominent BDP members quit the party to join the political newcomer. However, a lot of members including Moyo Guma, Botsalo Ntuane and Dikgang Makgalemele amongst others quickly retraced their steps.
Now with Khama having vacated the helm of the country and the ruling party, members continue to return. On Saturday morning, the BDP during their special national congress welcomed back members mostly holding positions within the BMD.
Amongst those who were welcomed from the BMD are Kagelelo Kentse who was BMD national executive committee member, Phakalane councillor, Tsholofelo Amos, and Maun West councillor Kentse Thapelo. Others from various BMD structures include Masego Chibidika, Phenyo Dikhudu, Gaolese Gaofose and Mbakisano Tjiyapo.
Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s husband Prince Moitoi, who had quit the BMD for the Alliance for Progressives (AP), was also welcomed.
Two BCP members were also welcomed being former Maun West parliamentary candidate George Lubinda and Phenyo Thekeleza. Just recently, former BCP secretary general Kentse Rammidi rejoined the ruling party.
In 2014, the BDP won elections with their lowest margin ever. The opposition won a record 20 seats and came very close to winning more. A key factor in this was formation of the BMD, which then joined forces with other opposition parties to form
Calling up the new members on stage, BDP secretary general Mpho Balopi said they were going after all their former members. “We will not rest until all of them are home. We are destroying the opposition house bit by bit taking away people from them,” he said.
For his part, Kentse said they had to go back home as the UDC house was not in order. “There is no peace in the UDC house, the leaders are not united.
The gaps widened after the congress as it exposed that there are indeed problems. We need peace and that is why we are here. We are not here to take your positions. Welcome us and I promise more members will come,” he said.
Still at the congress, Masisi introduced Moshupa-Manyana candidate Karabo Gare to the fold. He said they were certain of victory.
“This man is a hard worker who has worked tirelessly for the party in different areas around the country. I can assure you that he will win the constituency. Opposition members have also promised us their vote and it will be reflected by the margin we are going to win by,” he said.