SEROWE: Former president, Ian Khama has come out with guns blazing against the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) as he dumped the party founded by his father, the late Sir Seretse Khama and avowed to leave it on its deathbed.
He was addressing his second consultative meeting with people of GammaNgwato drawn from across the vast tribal territory. Khama has become consistent in condemning his former allies, sitting President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Vice President Slumber Tsogwane, for allegedly harassing him and those close to him like former Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) director general Isaac Kgosi who is facing multiple charges since Masisi axed him from his spy job.
At party level, Khama has cried foul that as the former party number one, no one has given him a listening ear when he had issues with the executive leadership in exception of long serving treasurer general, Satar Dada.
Khama acrimoniously exited membership of the party that he actively joined in 1998 after his early retirement from the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) and became its chairperson and vice president. From 2008 to 2018, Khama was the State and party president.
True to his recent promise, he disposed of his BDP membership card on a mat mid-way through his speech.
The programme had to be halted, as commotion by his followers disposing of their membership cards too, disrupted the proceedings. There was a near-stampede as disgruntled former BDP members competed for the attention of Khama as they threw away their membership cards. These are Khama supporters who had given him the green light to leave the BDP recently. Hundreds of BDP membership cards were later collected into a black refuse bag to be dumped elsewhere.
“Today I have come to tell you that I am quitting Domkrag. I don’t want to carry the party membership and I am leaving the membership card here, I don’t recognise this party anymore,” Khama said as he disposed of his BDP membership card. Momentarily, there was tension in the minds of people with some impulsively deciding to follow their Kgosikgolo whilst others cheered on without any meaningful action.
Some claimed to have left their membership cards promising to hand them in at a later time whilst others favoured Khama’s decision but needed time to think it over.
Khama’s move to quit the party is centred around his personal vendetta with the party leadership and some pinpointed members within the BDP that he accuses of undemocratic tendencies and deceit.
His well-documented troubles with President Masisi and Vice President Tsogwane are seemingly growing by the day and he is eager to ensure they don’t lead the country beyond the general elections.
Party secretary general, Mpho Balopi has also joined Khama’s hit list targeting leaders within the BDP.
Balopi’s trouble with Khama is apparently his decision to turn down Khama’s request for a meeting. The ex-president has sworn to ensure Balopi is defeated at Gaborone
His first target however, is Tsogwane at his Boteti-West constituency. Khama would be launching Sam Digwa of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) at the constituency at an undisclosed period of time. “I want Tsogwane to know that he is going to lose Boteti-West in the impending general elections,” Khama said amidst deafening noise from the meeting. Khama had previously highlighted that he was plotting the downfall of Sefhare-Ramokgonami Member of Parliament (MP) and BDP candidate Dorcas Makgato and Bobonong’s parliamentary candidate Fransisco Kgoboko who he felt were both deceitful.
Khama’s fallout with Masisi is well documented. Matters came to a head as Khama’s associates continue to be purged from the party structures and government. “In the past three weeks I didn’t expect that the party leadership would continue to harass people, but I am disappointed they kicked Butale out of the party and fired Patrick Ralotsia from his ministerial position for unknown reasons,” he said, noting that he was continually beleaguered in his kitchen soup project.
In his endeavour to take his war to Masisi and bring the BDP down, Khama would be joining hands with the opposition front. He is not clear which party he would be joining but promised he would assist uniting the opposition parties.
Khama said he would be going around the country launching opposition members and supporting some BDP members who lived true to their word.
He noted that the BDP was also vulnerable in the North East after expulsions of Samson Moyo Guma and Butale. The duo would be contesting the constituency under the new Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) that is under processes of formation. The new party’s draft constitution was distributed at the meeting.
“I would be launching Guma and Butale and I would also ask the new party to form an alliance with the other opposition parties. BDP has lost its path and it cannot be fixed. Use your power of votes to ensure that it dies,” Khama said with keenness to end the BDP.
Khama’s meeting failed to reflect his strength within GammaNgwato in terms of legislators within the vast region openly supporting him.
MP for Serowe South, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi who is a known Khama ally did not attend the weekend meeting with reports that she was busy attending other family commitments. Even Lerala-Maunatlala MP Prince Maele who had vowed to stick with Khama has not been attending the Khama meetings, leaving ex-presdient with his tribe who are also a mixed bag in terms of variety of political ideas.
Maele has appealed the decision suspending him from the party and has stayed away from Khama since.