Phakalane Estate businessman-cum-politician, Lesang Magang has reportedly made his political ambitions clear and has started campaigning for the secretary general position of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), a move that has ruffled some feathers within the party.
The former BDP national youth executive committee chairperson has raised his hand to face the incumbent, Mpho Balopi for the coveted post, as his supporters believe he stands a better chance because his activism was much cleaner and his resumé is one of the strongest within the party.
The BDP congress was postponed last year. The central committee is currently still mum on the dates for the gathering while it is rumoured that it might be held virtually. Before the COVID-19 pandemic landed on the country's shores, Magang had been to all the corners of the country.
According to reliable sources, Magang had already travelled to 50 constituencies selling his vision for the party.
It is alleged that he already has support of nine out of 14 BDP regions. “His strongest bases are Kweneng and South East regions. He has divided Gaborone. For instance, he has secured the support of two constituencies and divided two others.
Soon he will campaign in the last Gaborone constituency,” said the source. As one of his strategies, Magang recently launched Fairness, Empowerment, Access and Loyalty strategy known as ‘#FEAL’ on social media aimed at assisting the ruling party to reclaim the constituencies lost in the last general election. In an interview with Mmegi he shared his views about the ‘#FEAL’ strategy and his journey so far.
“I categorised my tour per region, had gone to Ghanzi North and South. This was to meet and greet democrats.
This is basically to tell them about my history in the party and what I want to do. Some of them have even invited me to their full council meetings.
I cannot call party structures as an ordinary politician because constitutionally, I am not allowed to do so. The reason why I met the members was for me to understand their views regarding some issues in the party so that when the time comes for congress it will be easy to sell my ideas to them,” Magang said.
He added that his strategy started during the first extreme lockdown when he called every branch, region chairperson, secretaries and councillors to know how they were doing, get insights into the BDP issues and how they could unify the party. In addition, Magang said the other issue he wanted to comprehend was what the members were doing about the Central and Ngamiland areas and what they believe could work for the party.
He said his message was to re –empower structures, regions so that the party could continue operating even during times like the pandemic era.
“Again, I wanted to know whether some of the members have applied for government programmes and how their businesses were doing,” he said.
Magang further said as a democrat who is concerned about his party, he had to meet some of the party members who lost elections during the primaries/Bulela-Ditswe so that they could unpack it and redefine it.
“My meeting with those who lost elections worked as a healing process and they were able to know
"Sometimes we take long without recognising people who fight for the party day and night without any expectations,” Magang said.
On the issue of whether he did not break the party rules and regulations by campaigning when the central committee has not announced for members to do so, Magang said, “even if I am contesting I ensure that I don’t break any party rules.” “Bulela Ditswe, in principle is a fair system, unfortunately, its administration is one that is not working.
What I am simply saying is that in 2024 we need to look into the data system and how the voters’ roll is done.
It must not arrive to the voters on the day when tomorrow is election time. People should be given fair opportunity to be able to see the voters roll on time,” he said.
“We cannot have our party, which has over 50 years doing things the way it has been doing, we need to improve how we do things. We need a website that could easily talk about our manifesto and other things,” he added.
Magang said he did not have a problem with whom the party members would choose as the secretary general. However, he said things should be done to progressively.
He added politics have evolved, and this time around it shows that the playground would be different in 2024. He said there was a need for political empowerment as a way of preparing for 2024 general election.
However, BDP spokesperson Kagelelo Kentse said Magang must be very careful since the writ for campaigns for party positions is not out. “Rre Magang has not contravened any rule or regulations because as a party we have been following his posts.
He has served the party before in the Central Committee (CC) and he knows very well on what he should do in an event he wants to advise the party.
"We can see that he has brilliant ideas that he may want to table before the party, but if one wants to help or advise the party, he or she must follow proper procedure.
That advocacy, one could do through the branch or region. Again, one must be careful that he/she does not tarnish the name of the party or send a wrong message that could lead to the party to act accordingly”, Kentse said.
He said Magang has not clearly indicated on his social media posts that he was going around the country to campaign for the SG post, but rather he was doing meet-and-greet sessions and also checking on members.
Kentse further said the party’s constitution allows every member in good standing to recruit members and also to revive the party where he/she sees the need to do so but in line with the party rules.
He also said Magang should not do anything that could be perceived as an attack to the party.