PALAPYE: The Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Central Region branch is unfazed by the recent mass defections of its cadres in the area to the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF).
The BPF has proven to be a thorn in the flesh for the BDP by wrestling the ruling party’s stronghold at the last national elections out of the influence of its patron and Bangwato rightful heir to the throne, Ian Khama. According to recent developments, some members of the seasoned ruling party have been submitting resignations to join the new formation.
Khama has also embarked on a recruitment drive for the infant BPF in the region, and BDP followers are dumping their membership cards at different meetings the former president holds in the constituency to join the political baby.
The defections of councillors, former councillors and members in various structures of the BDP in the central region made a hullabaloo in different media platforms lately. However, the BDP Central Region vice chairperson, Keneilwe Monageng views recent developments as political opponents causing a fuss to make it appear there was a crisis in the ruling party’s quarters. Monageng said the ruling party’s resolve is unshaken as the people flying resignations on media platforms are those members that long left the BDP and helped the BPF win the constituency in the last general elections.“We know them, and we are not surprised. They are the masses that helped BPF to win the constituency. They did not submit resignations and
He added there was nothing to raise eyebrows at their office, saying the only person they lost to BPF since the elections was councillor for Topisi Ward in Serowe North, Samuel Kenalemang. Recently, Vice President and BDP chairperson, Slumber Tsogwane descended on the Bangwato capital supposedly to address the regional structures following the troubling resignations. Monageng said Tsogwane’s trip was at the invitation of the Serowe south constituency to address the members on false rumours of defections and to reassure them of party initiatives. “People are moving around unsettling the constituents with unfounded rumours of cancellation of some initiatives that people survive with, and that is what the party chairperson was addressing,” Monageng said.
The vice chairperson, however, admitted the ground was tilted in favour of the BPF side in the district with the influence of the Bangwato ‘paramount chief’. He reckoned it would be an overwhelming challenge to wrestle the region from the BPF.
“His (Khama) influence is majestic because even the headmen of various wards in the broader district toe his political line. These are very influential people in the communities. It’s an enormous political battle that has turned tribalistic,” Monageng said.
BPF is a BDP splinter party.