BDP factions integral part of the party


When he died in 1980, Sir Seretse Khama bequeathed a closely knit and water tight party. Factions were either unknown or not clearly visible. The serene and almost ideal political environment the party enjoyed at the time perhaps had to do with the universal respect and loyalty that the late president commanded from all the four corners of the country.

But as soon as Seretse vanished from the political scene, cracks began to emerge in the party. It would appear the party was caught napping as it seemed that it had not prepared itself for life without Seretse. Even before Seretse was buried differences of opinion surfaced over the question of succession. In the absence of a constitutional provision of automatic succession, the party depended on conventional wisdom to guide issues of succession. Many in the party felt that then Vice President Sir Ketumile Masire who had worked closely with Khama was a natural and logical successor. Others, like the visionary Moutlakgola Nwako, felt that this was not the way to do things and were of the view that the question of succession should be subjected to an open, democratic contest. Finally, the party settled for Masire and the matter was closely amicably. For a considerable length of time, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) demonstrated unity of purpose and mind and rallied behind their president.

However, in the early 1990s perhaps sensing that president Masire was ageing, powerful ministers began to position themselves along factions to fight for the control of the soul of the party. The BDP has never recovered from the schism. Factions have become an integral part of the BDP and they continue to mutate and assume different forms at different times with different players. Party positions on offer are contested on factional lines. Of all the party positions available, the posts of chairperson and secretary-general (SG) are hotly contested. However, for a very long time Daniel Kwelagobe’s name had become synonymous with the position of SG. He was known in media circles as the BDP strongman and it took some with a nerve of steel to try and elbow DK out of his position. This explains why he has the record of longest holder of the SG position. Jacob Nkate tried not once to unseat him (DK) without success.

Editor's Comment
Happy Independence!

We are 56 years old and what do we have to show for it? Looking at where Botswana started and where it is today, there are a lot of developments, but whether the developments match the number of years we have enjoyed as a country is a topic for another day.The fact that cannot be denied is we have seen major developments, but we are still lacking in several pertinent areas.Our beautiful country imports almost everything. We import fuel, food,...

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