Should the wishes of the faction of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) aligned to Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi be unmet come Kang Congress, her sympathisers are ready and willing to pull a trump card.
Their biggest being to plead with Members of Parliament sympathetic to their cause to resign en masse so that government collapses.
“This is one of the options we are exploring at the moment so that BDP loses the majority in Parliament. If the government collapses, we will come back and form a coalition government with BDP leaders exclusive of Masisi. We want him out. Venson-Moitoi will take over as President of the country,” one Venson-Moitoi and former president Ian Khama sympathiser disclosed.
Last December President Masisi fired Venson-Moitoi from Cabinet after she expressed her ambition to challenge him for the presidency of the party.
Although Venson-Moitoi denies it, Khama is believed to be behind her candidacy as the two are from the same home village, Serowe.
The functionaries of this faction also say they will demand a new electoral board and voters’ roll for the Kang special congress.
The faction feels that the BDP electoral board chairperson, Peter Siele will be biased against them since he recently recorded a video professing his love for Masisi.
The option is to outsource the conducting of elections to the University of Botswana’s Democracy Research Project.
This week 31 supporters who attended the February 24, 2019 meeting held in Serowe were served with letters inviting them to disciplinary hearings for various offences. The councillors are allegedly aligned to the Venson-Moitoi faction.
“The ball is in the Masisi faction’s court. The disciplinary letters were an error. Like I always say, the BDP cannot afford a second split,” the source said.
The Venson-Moitoi team wants to know if the party had set any guidelines for presidential campaign and the constitution does not stipulate it either.
The team according to the source feels that Masisi had been given a platform by different regions to campaign for his presidential candidacy while Venson-Moitoi was denied such by the same regions.
“If we want free and fair elections, then let us allow Venson-Moitoi to campaign freely together with her team. It has never been an offence in the BDP to hold campaign meetings.
In fact, it came as a shock to us to be receiving letters for disciplinary hearings for attending the Serowe meeting. This is to intimidate our people to be afraid to support Venson-Moitoi for the party presidency,” another source said. The source said they would demand to be furnished with rules and regulations that would be used during the elections.
“If the party is not going to be clear on how they would conduct elections, then there would be no point for us to go to Kang. Then the team will have to decide on the way forward,” the source said.
However, Venson-Moitoi’s ally Samson Guma Moyo said they are not going to be scared by what the party secretary general Mpho Balopi is trying to do.
“We are campaigning vigorously and no one is going to stop us. Our team will continue to meet with the democrats to seek their support. This move is a way of trying to block or put fear in our supporters.
Holding BDP meetings for campaigns has never been an offence in the BDP,” Moyo said. He said the reason why all this is happening is because the stakes are high. He denied that they plan to collapse the government by resigning from Parliament en masse.
In a response letter to Balopi’s statement, Venson-Moitoi says: “To start with, the BDP does not have stated rules and regulations for the conduct of aspirant candidates in presidential campaigns.
As this is a first we would imagine that in your role as SG you would have hastened to ratify that. We thus find the secretariat, in total neglect of its duties, having failed over the years to develop a blueprint for campaigns and educate democrats consistently”.
The letter states for purposes of these elections, they would like the depository of all documents to be the electoral board and they embrace the code of conduct for candidates as the guiding tool, safe if the central committee comes up with any guiding rules.
Venson-Moitoi also said she is concerned with the continued abuse of office by some members of the national strategy, communication and international relations sub-committee of the central committee and the same sentiments also extend to the central committee, party chairperson, Political Education and Elections Committee (PEEC), council of elders, youth and women’s wing chairpersons.