President Ian Khama’s plan to once again nominate the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Eric Molale to Parliament faces stiff opposition from ruling party MPs.
Molale, who was specially nominated after last year’s general elections, resigned and stood as the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) candidate in the Goodhope-Mabule by-election in August. He lost to Umbrella for Democratic Change’s Kgosi Lotlamoreng II.
Even before the by-election, speculation was rife that win or lose, Molale would be back in Parliament. It was assumed it would be smooth-sailing back to the National Assembly as he is said to be in Khama’s succession plan. But Molale’s return may not be as straight forward as, even if Khama nominates him, the BDP MPs will have to endorse and vote for him in a secret ballot when Parliament resumes next week. But, as Mmegi has learnt, that there is resistance.
The situation is so serious that a section of BDP MPs and cabinet ministers are said to be conspiring to reject Molale should Khama nominate him.
Molale is said to be part of Khama’s master-plan and most importantly a key player going forward. BDP MPs however it seems are fed up with Khama and Molale’s tactics and want the minister to face his fate just like others. Khama has been Molale’s support structure throughout his presidency.
The sudden resignation of former MP James Mathokgwane to join SPEDU was Molale’s hope for a legitimate representation. The plan failed as the by-election left him humiliated.
Fresh information is that a sizeable number of BDP MPs are against Molale’s second nomination and want Khama to exercise fairness appoint someone new. It is understood that the ‘Block Molale’ campaign is gaining momentum within the BDP such that members of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) to go around detecting the mood within the BDP MPs.
The spy agency, Mmegi has learnt, shall give a report on the issue. The report shall determine whether Molale’s name will be advanced or withheld. The operation is to source the mood from MPs and their views on the matter. Several MPs have confirmed coming across such questions from friends and strangers.
In fact, it has emerged that the ‘Block Molale’ campaign started during the by-elections campaign where the deployed MPs decided to go on a sightseeing trip in the constituency.
“We were protesting a lot of things. Firstly some of us do not like what these guys are doing because we do not benefit anything from their tactics or complicated relationship,” said an MP who for fear of reprisals preferred anonymity.
“Secondly we feel Molale’s time has come to go because specially elected dispensation doesn’t belong to him, there are so many people who are eligible and they have to be given a chance,” he said, adding that some people feel the party’s secretary general, Botsalo Ntuane should be brought back to Parliament to defend the party. Members say during the Goodhope-Mabule by-election campaign, the party had given each ward P20,000 for petrol but the money was never availed to wards which each had an MP leader. “We do not know where the money went or who withheld the money and his or her reasons,” one MP said, noting that they were on a go-slow during the campaign and did not bother much. The expectation is that Khama should have called the party caucus before the Monday State of the Nation Address, so as to engage the MPs on the matter, but the President has not been forthcoming.
But those in the know say Khama may still have something up his sleeves, and that he may turn the tables in his favour in the last hour and ultimately get his preferred man .