The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) might lose more of its former Members of Parliament (MPs) and ex-Cabinet ministers to Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), unless it counters the strategy by its splinter party to recruit from its ranks.
The Monitor has learnt that the BPF leadership is on a mission to recruit former MPs who appear to be disgruntled within the BDP. The BPF, sources said, is already in talks with four former ruling party legislators and have made appointments with some of them.
The targeted former MPs and ex-Cabinet ministers are those who have a close relationship with former president and BPF patron,Ian Khama. Already, former MP for Palapye, who was also assistant Minister for Tertiary Education, Moiseraela Goya, resigned from the BDP last week and has since joined the BPF. There is speculation that more former MPs will follow this week.
One of the targeted former Cabinet minister and MP, Phillip Makgalemele denied being on the way to BPF. “For the record, I am not defecting and I love BDP. I however need to indicate that in the same way that the BDP is recruiting members that it deems critical for the future, other parties are doing the same. Yes, I have received inquiries from a number of opposition parties (including BPF), and any decision on my political future is to remain at BDP,” Makgalemele told The Monitor.
Another former Cabinet minister, Botlogile Tshireletso who was the political head at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development also denied rumours that
“I have not been recruited by any opposition party. I love my party and I am not dreaming of going anywhere. Of course I respect Khama as my chief and my former leader. Nna ke godile nka se kgone go ya go batla lelwapa le lengwe la sepolotiki,” Tshireletso said in an interview.
BPF president, Biggie Butale they have embarked on a massive recruitment drive that has been ongoing for quite a while. “We are targeting mainly BDP members and non aligned. Former MPs and former ministers have invariably found themselves caught in this dragnet,” he said. Butale added they will not relent nor tire in their effort to populate the party until the last day before the next elections.
Former Selebi Phikwe East MP, Nonofo Molefhi, who has served the BDP government in different ministries said: "I can confirm that I have been approached by many members of political parties seeking and inviting me to join or associate with them. I have also been approached and encouraged by other BDP members that I should continue to serve the Party in other ways and areas. I continue to be a member of the BDP in good standing."