SELEBI-PHIKWE: One of the candidates in the race for the Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP)’s chairmanship, Dithapelo Tshotlego, previously quiet since the furore on the race arose, has broken his silence.
Spitting fire, Tshotlego told Mmegi that the entry of Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi as a contestant is “being used as a threat” against other hopefuls. He says the anti-Masisi camp is living in fear of victimisation and as a result of the VP’s inclusion in the race, tensions are rising to dizzy heights among rivals.
“The BDP diehards supporting candidates other than Masisi are doing so in secret for fear of victimisation.
Masisi’s entry into the race has stoked tension among rivals because President Ian Khama has thrown his weight behind his number two,” he said.
At two recent meetings, Masisi’s rivals said party structures were willing to bend over backward to accommodate the vice president, but would not accord similar platforms for them. “Masisi’s entrance has resulted in our supporters pledging their support to us in secret,” he said.
Tshotlego, who is based in Palapye, added that some structures within the party were violating its guidelines and openly endorsing or showing support for certain candidates.
“Such practices are unethical more so that some of these people sit in the party’s central committee. Such acts are prohibited by the party’s constitution.
They should borrow a leaf from the party’s women’s league which is silent on its interest in the race,” he said.
Tshotlego also weighed into the talk doing the rounds in BDP circles on whether Masisi’s candidature will add unnecessarily to his duties or is critical in his rise in the party.
Masisi’s supporters say as the president-in-waiting, Masisi must – by necessity – consolidate his power within the party.
However, Tshotlego said that Masisi’s win or loss in the coming chairmanship race would not serve the party’s best interests. “Masisi already sits in the party’s central committee. What more? In fact we are preparing for him so that he will inherit a well-built and united party by the time he becomes the president,” he said.