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Last Updated
Tuesday 03 August 2021, 12:07 pm.
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I have never supported Khama's compromise list - Rammidi

FRANCISTOWN: Is former Assistant Minister of Local Government Kentse Rammidi disillusioned?
By RYDER GABATHUSE
Staff Writer
(GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: I have never supported Khama's compromise list - Rammidi








This is the question being asked by many as they come to terms with the latest developments in the Kanye North legislator's political career.

At best, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) politician can be described as defiant. Rammidi's recent resignation from President Ian Khama's cabinet to contest for the party's powerful position of Secretary General when the party is generally selling a compromise list is in clear defiance.

Khama, who is the party's chief spokesperson, has been strongly advocating for a compromise list as the party heads for its national congress in Mahalapye.  Khama feels that avoiding a contest at the elective congress in July will help the ruling party avoid conflicts, which normally arise post congress and elections.

Until recently, Rammidi was a pro-Khama man who defended his leader at all state television appearances he made and at political rallies. He was one of the leading figures in the now disbanded A-Team of the BDP, of which Khama was the leader at some stage. Although Rammidi denies it, things do not seem to be so rosy between him and his leader, especially since he declared his intention to contest for the secretary general position. There is a school of thought that Rammidi decided to break ranks with Khama in the realisation that things are no longer in order in the BDP.

Rammidi has seemingly been cultivating enough support in constituencies and within BDP structures generally. His main challenge, it is clear, is that he is a Member of Parliament of a constituency that has been in opposition hands for many years. He is tempted to appease his constituents, even if it means going against Khama and the party, for he knows he has the backing of his constituents in whatever he does.  His utterances, in particular, are a clear testimony that he is a man who has ample trust in his constituents, in case he is shown the door. He is a grassroots man and is one of the most effective activists of the BDP as depicted by his previous assignments.

Previously he was assigned as campaign manager for many by-elections and did not disappoint. Generally, he appeals to the hoi polloi. "I am not disillusioned at all," he tells Mmegi in an interview and explains that he has never

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supported the Khama compromise list, not even at the BDP's last elective congress in Kanye. "In an organisation like the BDP," he begins and pauses, "we should allow the leaders to emerge. Emergence of new leaders should not be stifled."
He says if he was never allowed to co

test for positions in the party, he would not be where he is today. "I remember I contested for a position in the BDP National Youth Executive Council (NYEC) in Tonota in 2002 and won," he says. "I had just started being active and I was neutral as far as the factions were concerned." Rammidi holds the strong view that a political party worth its salt becomes especially dynamic during elections. He says those vying for elective positions normally move all over the country reaching out to party structures, helping to revive the structures.

"Now, if nobody knows the health of the structures, activism goes down because of the proposed compromise list," he says. He argues that it would not be good for the BDP to go into a deep slumber only to wake up at elections time. He says he is worried that there is a rumour circulating that he was on the verge of joining the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and dismisses this as a figment of some people's imagination. "This rumour is being peddled by people who are irrelevant to the BDP and who want to make themselves relevant through such gossip," he says.  Another strong view Rammidi holds is that the BDP National Council should not be the ultimate decision-making body. He says he cannot be accused of defying Khama when all he is doing is uphold the dictates of the party constitution. "I think I should be allowed to differ when necessary," he says.

"The President has never said that those who are not in favour of the congress should be stifled as I remember him saying at a rally in Molepolole that the decision of the National Council shall be endorsed by the National Congress."  Rammidi emphasised that there are other BDP activists who are for the elections and preferred that the party National Congress shall make a decision whether the compromise list should be supported or elections be held.

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