The Khama, Masisi political brouhaha

FRANCISTOWN: Former president Ian Khama is certainly going to give the President Mokgweetsi Masisi-led administration torrid time if the recent developments are anything to go by.

The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) council of elders has this week moved in to meet former president Khama over his differences with the Masisi-led administration.

Just this week, Mmegi has learnt that Masisi sent the party’s council of elders to put out political fires between him and Khama before more damage is inflicted on the BDP whose fortunes have been dwindling over the years.

In an interview this week, the chairperson of the BDP council of elders, former cabinet and national assembly speaker, Patrick Balopi confirmed they had a meeting with Khama.

“We had a meeting with Khama and as party policy. I am not going to divulge any details of such a meeting to the media,” Balopi said before hanging up. Just on the eve of the party’s  primaries, Khama defiantly honoured about four invitations from four constituencies to address kgotla meetings and doled out blankets and foodstuffs. Despite queries from many quarters that Khama was giving some candidates undue advantage, the former military commander could not budge, as he did not see anything wrong with what he was doing.  There are basically four constituencies where Khama stood his ground and “campaigned” for his selected few candidates.

It was however, in Bobirwa where it seemingly attracted a lot of controversy when Khama honoured an invitation by businessman-cum politician, Francisco Kgoboko despite protestations by incumbent Member of Parliament, Shaw Kgathi. Kgathi even blundered by pleading with Khama not to launch the Kgoboko Trust. Worse, Kgathi had reportedly instructed the chiefs in Bobirwa not to attend the kgotla meeting, which the chiefs attended nevertheless.

It was at this meeting in particular which was beamed on Facebook Live that Khama defiantly battered Kgathi’s image and thereby elevating the status of his new-found boy, Kgoboko.

This was just a few days before Bulela Ditswe primary elections and it’s the party’s rules and regulations that campaigns of any sort are not entertained around this period.

But, Khama would not have any of that. It goes without saying that Khama presented Kgoboko before the Babirwa as a man who had solutions to their troubles, through his Trust.  This truly left Kgathi green with envy, more so that Kgoboko has been giving him a serious run for his money. Kgoboko would unseat incumbent Bobirwa MP, Kgathi with a huge margin by garnering 5,595 votes to Kgathi’s 1,785. In Serowe West, Khama reportedly defied the party again by addressing last minute kgotla meetings in all the wards accompanied by his young brother, Tshekedi Khama who was a parliamentary candidate in the constituency and won amidst loud murmurs that they violated Bulela Ditswe rules and regulations. The Khama brothers are alleged to have doled out blankets to the constituents against the spirit and letter of Bulela Ditswe primaries. Khama won the primaries by

garnering 2,797 votes, whilst his protesting challengers got 1,594 and 462 votes through Moemedi Dijeng and Keletso Rakhudu respectively.

Some supporters of the losing candidates as articulated by Dijeng have taken video evidence to support their concerns of violations of the Bulela Ditswe primaries by the Khama brothers.

The story told by Dijeng is diametrically telling that the Khama challengers have watched helplessly as the Khama brothers trampled upon the party rules and regulations.

At least they took the matter through the party structures seeking assistance prior to the primaries, but they are still waiting to date.

This has become the source of the losers’ protest as they feel the Khama brothers have violated the party rules and regulations for Bulela Ditswe primaries.  As if that was not enough, Khama would then go to Tonota constituency to support his friend Thapelo Olopeng at the two wards of Mandunyane and Foley village where his support has been dwindling. Khama addressed kgotla meetings, which left other candidates accusing Olopeng of having violated the party’s rules and regulations as he used the official platform of kgotla to solicit for votes. At the Francistown-East constituency, losing parliamentary candidate, James Kgalajwe had accused Khama of meddling with the BDP primary elections by breaking party primary elections rules and regulations. It was here that Khama addressed kgotla meetings whereat he doled out blankets and soup with fat cakes to the constituents. He was at the constituency at the invitation of the incumbent MP, Buti Billy who eventually won the primaries by garnering 1,312 votes to Kgalajwe’s 785 nods. Khama’s presence in the constituency has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many including Kgalajwe who has since protested the parliamentary results citing irregularities.  Kgalajwe is worried that the former president, Khama could be setting such a very bad example by violating the party rules and regulations for primary elections. Mmegi is privy to the details that, State President Masisi who is also the BDP president is worried at Khama’a latest manoeuvres, as it has cost some of Masisi’s allies their positions like Kgathi in Bobirwa.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem really easy for Masisi to have a one-on-one with Khama, as there seem to be no love lost between the former allies. Khama only took to the disputed kgotla meetings after he was denied his desire to fly State aircraft and after losing a bid to employ former spy chief, Isaac Kgosi who was fired from work as his senior private secretary.

Khama has even issued a threat out of frustration to take the Masisi administration to court if it persists that it will not hire Kgosi who latest media reports have shown that he will soon be charged for his involvement in the scandalous National Petroleum Fund.

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