Botswana: 'I Didn't Leave UDC, UDC Left Me'

27 January 2021

Mbaakanyi Lenyatso, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) parliamentary candidate for Francistown West in the 2019 election has revealed in an interview with The Patriot on Sunday that he is on his way out after ill-treatment and being sidelined by his comrades at Botswana People's Party (BPP).

Lenyatso who has not officially submitted a resignation letter to Botswana People's Party ( BPP), claims there is no need for him to render his resignation as he was sidelined by both the leadership of the BPP and the UDC prior to the 2019 elections, which he adds contributed immensely to his loss to Ignatius Moswaane. "If people chase you, do you go back and send a resignation letter? I didn't leave UDC, UDC left me. I didn't leave BPP, BPP left me. They left me out, for me to write a resignation letter will be a joke. It doesn't carry value," he added.

The former BPP Vice President further confirmed that he is pleased with the current BDP which he believes is now made up of ordinary people who can advocate for change for the people. He further alluded that there is no reason for him not to join the BDP since all the corrupt leaders have relocated to the opposition. Lenyatso emphasized that he had made his political objectives and intentions very clear when the BDP tried to recruit him, adding that his objectives include review of the constitution, prioritizing economic empowerment of the citizen and participation of everyone in the economy.

Lenyatso mentioned that after he announced on social media that he would be taking a leave from politics, the BDP upped its tempo in efforts to recruit him to join the BDP, with top dogs of the party contacting him, including H.E the President Dr Mokgweetsi E.K Masisi.

"I was very clear with the BDP that my problem with political parties is turning them into cults, and leaders into demi gods. The other thing is to do away with tribal connotation both in the institutions and constitution, so that people leave equally in the nation. They showed me that BDP is dynamic and not stagnant. The BDP of 1966 was based and founded under tribalism whereby Khama was looked at as kgosikgolo and that was it, so now we are shouting kgosikgolo in the opposition. That is where kgosikgolo is, which means tribalism has relocated to the opposition from BDP," he said.

He also emphasized that if he were to join the ruling party, he was not interested in being used as a replacement for Moswaane, adding that if the BDP decided to give him a constituency to contest for a parliamentary seat in 2024, he would be open to contesting in any of the constituencies spread across the country. "I'm not going there to replace Moswaane, I am not on the same level with Moswaane, I am not replacing anybody, I am so much ahead of him when it comes to politics because my politics are not petty party politics but politics for human development," he added.

Lenyatso went on to defend the ruling party by dismissing rumors of the BDP buying people to join the party, adding that people were not being bought but rather were compelled to join the party because what they hated about the BDP has left the party. He further cautioned the opposition to be weary of people leaving the BDP to join opposition as he claims they are only following their demi gods.

"People will lie and say BDP is buying people, there's no party that is buying people here, you just put your house in order, and people will join you. The opposition should learn that the people leaving the BDP now going to opposition following their demi gods are the people who were comfortable with what was happening in BDP," he alluded.

Asked whether he had made up his mind about joining the ruling party, Lenyatso explained that he had been observing the BDP and they had promised to meet his demands, but he insisted that he was yet to consult with his family, the people he worked with in 2019 as well as a few BDP members before he officially becomes a member of the BDP, adding that majority of them understood the suffering he went through at the hands of the BPP and UDC. He further pointed out that he was aware of what the BDP is capable of doing and that he was not oblivious to the fact that they are still fighting demons from the past, though their path of constitutional reform is clear.

Giving a brief background on what led to his decision to leave the UDC, Lenyatso explained that his problems with his leadership did not start during 2019 elections campaign as many believe, but rather go as far back as his race for the BPP's Vice Presidency in 2016 when he was accused of being a BDP agent as well as a DIS agent by members of the UDC leadership. He further indicated that Molapisi was pressurized by UDC leadership to question Lenyatso about his loyalties. "I have realized that parties in UDC are in competition, they viewed me as a threat, a threat not an infiltrator but a quality person, who they wished could be on their side so they decided to poison people against me so I look bad to the BPP," he added.

Lenyatso explained that the rift between him and the BPP President Molapisi was fuelled by Lenyatso disagreeing with Molapisi in February 2019 after allocation of constituencies was finalized and Molapisi somersaulted to wanting all the council seats in the Francistown west constituency to be reserved for the BPP, though it was initially concluded that they were to be split between BNF and BCP.

He further declared that Molapisi and his secretary general started to de-campaign and sabotage him and even resorted to trying to recall him as the BPP candidate because they believed Boko's decision to distribute wards between the BNF and the BCP was influenced by Lenyatso. "Molapisi pursued his issue with wards, until Boko came and resolved the issue, after that Molapisi suspended me for nothing, a month to the election. He didn't have any reason but to distract me, he felt that Boko's decision was influenced by me," he added.

Lenyatso went on to reveal that after the 2019 elections, he was the first person to approach Moswaane to encourage him to leave the BDP after realizing his tussles with the ruling party, adding that after Moswaane joined the coalition, they tried to use him to frustrated Lenyatso though he maintained that the Francistown west constituency remained in the hands of the BPP. "Molapisi and Boko went behind my back and welcomed Moswaane to the UDC, it was a total a vote of no confidence in me and an embarrassment of my life, they could have invited me. That is when I saw that I could not win this battle, because the battle is against me not because I am doing something wrong, but because I am a better person, so I decided that I have to leave," he said.

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