Already facing a difficult campaign, Member of Parliament for Sefhare/ Ramokgonami, Dorcas Makgato faced attack this weekend from a number of social media users, for what they considered to be a slur on the founding president, the late Sir Seretse Khama.
The first president of the country was also amongst the founders of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and the father to the former and fourth president, Ian Khama.
In her remarks at a BDP rally in Chadibe village, Makgato said “ha e le gore rraago, o ne a nwa bojalwa bo bo mmolaya, o seka wa ta ko go rona o bo o re therefore…”, which many concluded to be an attack on the late Sir Seretse Khama.
Sir Seretse Khama died in 1980 at the age of 59. He reportedly succumbed to cancer of the abdomen, which had spread to the liver. Makgato’s remarks came after Ian Khama held a rally in Borotsi ward in Sefhare/Ramokgonami where he endorsed Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) parliamentary candidate, and long time rival, Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang, just weeks ahead of the October general elections.
The remarks captured in a widely circulating video and made in Setswana state: “Ke mang o o kileng a tshwarelwa bojalwa ka puso ya ga Rre Mokgweetsi Masisi? Rona ba re inwelang jaaka nna re kile ra kgokgontshwa ke mang? Jaanong ka gore rraago one a nwa bojala bo bo mmolaa, o seka wa ta ko go rona o bo o re ‘therefore’. Re tshwanetse re dire molao o berekelang Batswana eseng an individual”.
Sefhare/Ramokgonami is considered as one of the constituencies in the vast Central District Council (CDC), where Khama wields a lot of influence. Asked to comment, BDP communication chairperson, Kagelelo Kentse said: “We need to engage Makgato and understand if social media is not misrepresenting her”.
Makgato dismissed the assumption that she was talking about a particular individual’s father, and labelled it as malice, and that it is unfortunate. She advised people to go back to the video and listen to the whole clip, and not be selective in what they listen to.
She explained that she did not talk about the late Sir Seretse Khama nor did she talk about former president Ian Khama during the segment that was being referred to. “I have great respected for our first president,” she said.
Makgato said the people who made those conclusions were hoping to tarnish her name, further explaining that when she wanted to be specific, she was specific about him (Ian Khama).
She said she talked about the fact that Ian Khama had vowed to go to her constituency to decampaign her.
Makgato said she asked her constituents to ask the former president to open up to them about what he was sending her to do, when she told him that she would rather be shot dead than do what he was sending her to do.
Makgato also said since he goes around claiming to be a Good Samaritan who wants to help her constituents then the former president should address the land and water problems people are facing, and stop bringing them bread and blankets.