17 April 2019

Botswana: Plan B - New Jerusalem Launches Mekoko

Though President Mokgweetsi Masisi extended an olive branch to his political nemesis Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi is was brushed aside as New Jerusalem faction charts a new political path.

The bitter divide across the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) echoes the acrimony that drove the youthful members of Barata Phathi faction to form the breakaway party nine years ago. The question on the lips of many is whether history will repeat itself or not.

Since the Kang Congress where they lost the presidential race before it could even start, NJ leaders have been meeting with growing frequency and have been giving out statements especially on social media that suggested a common disenchantment with the BDP leadership.

Highly placed sources within the faction have revealed that they are now moving into phase two of their plan which is to have independent candidates challenging some parliamentary candidates within the party.

Romances with UDC

The NJ is said to be in constant talks with UDC leader Duma Boko to form an alliance with them should they manage to win the 10 constituencies which they are targeting.

"Their aim is to win all central district constituencies which will reduce BDP numbers and then form coalition with UDC and take power," revealed the source.

The move is said to have divided the UDC leadership with most of them against any form of alliance with the group sympathetic to former President Ian Khama.

"How do we form an alliance with a man who has tormented us for over 10 years?" asked one UDC leader rhetorically.

'OPERATION RE TSENYA MEKOKO'

Dorcas Makgato- Sefhare/Ramokgonami

The operation came into swing at the backyard of the MP for Sefhare-Ramokgonami Dorcas Makgato when they visited Chadibe village where they were dishing soup led by their political god father former President Khama and Venson-Moitoi.

Makgato is said to have infuriated them by ditching their faction - a move they saw as betrayal. They now want to punish her.

Makgato, who is also the chairperson of the BDP Women's Wing, is credited for being the catalystwhich ignited fire within the Masisi faction due to her charismatic nature. She was the driving force in the Masisi camp ahead of the Kang congress.

NJ is said to have opened negotiations with the loser in the primary elections specially elected councilor Kitso Seloma to challenge her as independent candidate.

Thapelo Olopeng - Tonota

Another biggest betrayal to the NJ faction is Khama's bosom friend Olopeng who also ditched the camp and rallied behind President Masisi.

Khama recently hosted former MP for Tonota, Pono Moatlhodi at his homestead in Mosu.

In a radio interview Moatlhodi praised former President Khama as a visionary leader whom he holds in high regard. Moatlhodi defected to Botswana National Front (BNF) in 2013 after accusing former President Khama of being a dictator after he lost primaries to Olopeng.

He went on to stand as a UDC parliamentary candidate and lost to Olopeng. He is once more the UDC's parliamentary candidate for the area.

Kgotla Autlwetse - Serowe North East

The 'operation re tsenya mekoko' started to take a full swing when former cabinet minister Ndelu Seretse - first cousin to former President Ian Khama - declared that he will be standing as an independent candidate in Serowe North East.

Seretse was humbled by Autlwetse in 2013 primary elections and shied away from trying his luck in the 2018 primaries. He has now risen from the political cocoon, revealing that elders in the constituency have asked him to stand.

Mpho Balopi - Gaborone North

Though the MP for Gaborone North Haskins Nkaingwa will be representing UDC in the 2019 General Elections, he is said to be part of the 'Operation re tsenya Mokoko'. He is expected to thwart efforts by BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi to go to Parliament under the BDP ticket.

Lesedi Phuthego - Serowe South

Another BDP candidate who is targeted by the NJ is youthful parliamentary candidate for Serowe South Lesedi Phuthego. They want to ensure his political dream of being a legislator is shattered before his eyes. Currently the camp is banking on one of the senior members of the Ngwato royal to stand as an independent candidate and use royalty to woo voters to their side.

Bernard Bolele - Mahalapye West

Initially it is alleged that NJ thought that Bernard Bolele - who halted political career of Mahalapye West MP Joseph Molefe during the primary elections - was on their side, but he has shown that he is on the other side of the fence.

Highly placed sources within the NJ have revealed that they are talking to Molefe to make a political comeback and stand as an independent candidate. "He is frustrated by the current administration and we are hopefully he will heed our call," revealed a source.

Simon Moabi - Tati West

The incumbent MP for the Tati West and Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness Biggie Butale, who lost to the youthful Simon Moabi, has never been a supporter of President Masisi. Butale, who is not happy with how the primary elections were conducted, is said to be a soft target for the NJ to stand against Moabi as an independent candidate.

NJ is said to be sure of the following constituencies as theirs, Maunatlala-Lerala where they are banking on Prince Maele - a hardcore Khama loyalist, Palapye where they have the incumbent Master Goya and Shoshong with Philip Makgalemele.

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