FRANCISTOWN: Daniel Kwelagobe's rival for the post of Botswana Democratic Party chairperson, Tebelelo Seretse, has found her way into the July congress despite her failure to secure delegate status at the Serowe South constituency.
Seretse has been appointed to the National Elections Strategy Team or NEST, which will play a pivotal role at the congress.
"The BDP Central Committee has asked the secretariat to focus on elections' issues. This means that NEST will be more relevant and they will have to be there to explain issues of elections strategy," BDP executive secretary, Comma Serema, said yesterday.
Seretse, who will rely on the gender card in her contest against incumbent chairperson, Daniel Kwelagobe. Kwelagobe has the has the support of the Nkate-Merafhe faction and party leader, President Ian Khama.
Serema vehemently denied reports from insiders that the BDP Central Committee's move to accommodate Seretse was tantamount to finding Seretse a space in the venue of the congress through the backdoor.
"There is no way in which people can read a backdoor in this move. By the way, who does not know that Seretse has long been appointed to this strategy team?" wondered Serema.
He explained that Seretse was roped into the NEST committee by virtue of her previous position as the Women's Wing chairperson.
"She then continued to serve in this committee after the Tsabong Women's Wing congress where Seretse relinquished her position to run for the more powerful position of party chairperson".
The NEST is a BDP think tank chaired by the incumbent BDP secretary general, Jacob Nkate, who is also Minister of Education and Skills Development. His deputy is former Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) CEO, Vincent Seretse.
Native Impressions, FrontPage Publications and RGB Communications are the companies charged with the function of communication strategy and part of the big team.
Other members are Kavis Kario, Tebelelo, Botsalo Ntuane, Shaw Kgathi, Esther Norris, Serema, Kentse Rammidi and Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi.
Serema also says Seretse will attend the congress without voting rights. "Through NEST membership, she will be entitled to participate but she is not entitled to vote when it comes to voting at the congress.
"By the way, although she is not a delegate, Seretse qualifies fully as a candidate for the party chairmanship," Serema pointed out.
Speaking yesterday, Seretse said: "I have always been aware that through my membership of NEST, I will be inside the venue of the congress".
"Through NEST, we want to help the party to recapture some of the areas in opposition hands including the marginalised ones," said Seretse.
She indicated that even if she were to be locked outside the congress, she would have it easy.
"Look, people have won Central Committee elections whilst outside the country on official assignment. At a congress held in Serowe, Maitlhoko Mooka, won himself a contested position, whilst he was away on official duty. Dorcus Magang won herself a Central Committee position at the Molepolole congress in absentia," said Seretse, indicating that her rejection least worried her.