Botswana: Khama to be endorsed as BDP president

ian_khamaFRANCISTOWN: Although there are dissenting voices across the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) factional divide on the system of automatic succession, President Ian Khama is tipped to be endorsed as party president.

The party expects its regions to have submitted their choices of preferred party presidential candidates the day before the special congress on July 17. But as it is, all regions continue to endorse Khama without an alternative.

At least information coming from the BDP regions that are known to be rallying behind strongman Molepolole South MP, Daniel Kwelagobe who is seeking re-election as BDP national chairman show that they are going to endorse their man.

This is despite earlier concern that the pro-Kwelagobe faction was going to break ranks with the rest and endorse a different candidate as party president through the automatic succession system. Now, this notion seems to be shelved or overtaken by events.

Khama’s wide endorsement is expected to end tensions relating to a possible ‘coup’ by the Kedikilwe-Kwelagobe faction as revealed by the press. A local newspaper has recently reported that some BDP top brass were hatching a plot to frustrate Khama’s bid for re-election as party president, the day before the July 18 party congress.

In the ongoing intra party debate on the system of automatic succession, the local press consistently depicting his dislikes of the system quotes Kwelagobe. It is only that automatic succession has been endorsed by majority of BDP diehards that Kwelagobe who is also known as DK finds himself with no choice at all.

Asked yesterday if he was going to endorse Khama as a party presidential candidate for 2009 general elections, Kwelagobe did not want to “repeat something that he has already been quoted many times on.”

“I have already commented on this issue that I am only going to move forward on the basis that automatic succession has been adopted by majority in the party,” he declared, albeit reluctantly echoing his comments as quoted by the current issue of Sunday Standard newspaper.

He further declared that he was not going to comment any further on issues that his opinion is fully known.

Mmegi can reveal that the North West region of the BDP, which consists of Ngami, Okavango, Maun West, Maun East and Chobe branches, has last Sunday endorsed Khama as a presidential candidate. The regional chairman, John Benn has confirmed the endorsement of Khama Tuesday this week.

This is despite that majority of the branches have elected delegates and observers majority of which are drawn from the Kedikilwe-kwelagobe camp. The Nkate-Merafhe faction, which is backing Kwelagobe’s challenger, Tebelelo Seretse has minority delegates.

The Francistown regional committee, which consists of branches Tati East, Tonota South, Francistown East, South and West, will also endorse Khama as the party president next Sunday at the regional congress. The deputy regional secretary, Sam Masunga has confirmed the endorsement of Khama.

This is despite the region being pro Kedikilwe-Kwelagobe camp and they also have majority of the delegates to the forthcoming national congress.

Perhaps, this will settle Khama who has been apparently immersed in bitter BDP feuds in support of his endorsed candidate, Seretse against Kwelagobe.

Speaking to BDP executive secretary yesterday, Dr Comma Serema, he indicated that most of the regions are meeting this coming weekend to determine whether they endorse Khama as party president and subsequently presidential candidate in the October general elections.

“The presidential endorsement is done through the provision of the automatic succession,” explains Serema and added that he was not aware yet of any alternative name for the party president.

Mmegi Online

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