SEROWE: A ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) veteran, who joined the BDP in 1966, has decided to quit his party last Saturday and chose to rally behind his paramount chief and former president, Ian Khama.
“After hearing the son of the late Sir Seretse Khama speak, I took a position to quit the BDP and follow him wherever he is going,” declared Pudulogo Joel Gulubane, the elderly Mongwato tribesman as he grabbed his beige hat in his right hand.
“I am no longer interested in the BDP, I follow our chief. Recently, I met an energetic and youthful opposition leader Bokwe, (the corrupted pronunciation of Duma Boko) and I have heard him as well,” he declared, indicating that since Khama will work closely with Boko it makes sense for him to follow them.
His plan is to follow people who show respect for the party rules and processes and not simply hating others. In the interim, Gulubane has stopped attending BDP meetings in protest for the perceived ill-treatment of his chief by the current regime.
Pelotshweu Letswapong, another BDP activist for many years says he is scared by the latest developments and fears that they could mean the end of the BDP rule if the matter is not handled properly.
“They should speak to Khama to change his mind and not leave the party. He seems hurt by what has been happening to him,” said Letswapong worried by the future of the party he has followed for many years.
“As a staunch BDP activist, I can tell you I am worried and certainly, I will have to make a decision of what to do next, a decision I cannot make in a hurry.”
As for Godirelwa Ramolemane of Botalaote ward in Serowe, she has long waited for Khama to make his announcement as she had long followed radio and newspaper reports on the differences between Khama and the Masisi administration. It goes without saying for Ramolemane that the new order is part of her plan. She will wait patiently for the two to three weeks announced by Khama for the grand decision on his political future and the political future he envisages for GammaNgwato. Another woman BDP activist who preferred to remain anonymous added her voice that Khama at long last made the right decision about his future and she has chosen to follow her chief wherever he goes.
A youthful commentator who preferred anonymity queried that the meeting was one-sided as Khama only gave his side of the story leaving out the position of government and the ruling BDP leadership.
“He should have gone deeper into explaining his relationship with the South African millionaire Bridget Motsepe
Tebogo Motshabi is another youthful BDP activist who found relief in Khama’s action because he had already taken a decision to give his vote to the UDC. “I will definitely follow my chief and vote as he pleases because he has been ridiculed for a long time,” declared Motshabi.
A party activist from Palapye, Lawrence Bodilenyane talked about Khama’s well documented harassment.
“The Vice President Slumber Tsogwane came to us in Palapye when these issues started. He invited us to a lodge and at that meeting he took the whole time badmouthing Kgosikgolo and saying deceptive things about him. We learnt from that meeting that our leadership is trying to destroy the reputation of our Kgosikgolo and ensure Batswana shun him,” Bodilenyane gave a testimony of his experience.
“At Lerala/Maunatlala we were crying after our Member of Parliament, Prince Maele was suspended. We have vowed we would follow him, and we told him to contest elections. We didn’t know your position and why you had kept quiet when our party was being torn apart. We are happy that you have spoken, and we will follow you,” said Kebaabetswe Sethong of Lerala.
“I grew up knowing that we follow the footprints of our parents, but what our elders are doing in the BDP is a shame. The harassment of Kgosikgolo is distasteful, I have seen this happening in Zimbabwe during my stay there and this is where Botswana is heading to. BDP has lost direction and like Kgosikgolo I am pleading with you Batswana that we change this leadership,” an unidentified party youth said.
A worried elderly woman who could not disclose her name declared her undying love for the BDP.
“We love this party, and we did not imagine today there would be so much chaos in the party. We started this party with Seretse Khama, and we have never had problems. These problems began when this party was first taken to the south and now they arise again,” the elderly woman declared amidst ululations and whistling.
Kgosi Rasebolai Kgamane also added his voice: “Our leader is insulted and other people are rejoicing, I wonder what happened to our society. We are losing our values and need leaders that can protect our culture. You have spoken Kgosikgolo and morafe had said whatever you ask of us we will follow you and we will do.”