Botswana: BDP Elders Criticise Masisi

Unhappy about Matsheka's removal from Finance

'Removal of Dr Matsheka suicidal, can breed factions'

Lobatse democrats, Councillors rally behind MatshekaMasisi is losing control of BDP and Govt - BDP elders

Disgruntled Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) senior members and Councillors in Lobatse, supported by an unhappy Committee of Elders are demanding answers from President Mokgweetsi Masisi over the removal of the area MP Dr Thapelo Matsheka from the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning.

As a result of looming tension between Lobatse BDP and party leadership, Councillors in the constituency are planning to summon Masisi for a meeting to express their displeasure. Both Committee of Elders and BDP Lobatse branch want a reconciliation between Masisi and Matsheka before their differences can deepen further, thus throwing the party into disarray.

Masisi is also facing a mammoth battle of calming down the disgruntled BDP backbench too. Some members of the BDP backbench are said to be already lobbying Dr Matsheka to resign from Cabinet, arguing that his removal from Finance equates to a demotion by the President.

Masisi announced a surprise cabinet reshuffle last week Friday night with Dr Matsheka bubdled out of the strategic Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to the junior Ministry if Infrastructure and Development. He was replaced at Finance by former Minister of Investment Trade and Industry Peggy Serame.

Information reaching this publication is that some of the BDP leadership in Lobatse has relayed their worries to BDP elders committee which is equally frustrated by the cabinet reshuffle outcomes.

In an interview, one influential and senior member of the elders committee said the removal of Dr Matsheka from the important ministry of finance is suicidal and Masisi made a worst mistake ever. The member who is also former senior cabinet minister said Masisi should not take the cabinet explosion that may arise from the demotion of Matsheka lightly as it can create internal factions.

"Matsheka was leading a very important ministry in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic and removing him was a bad idea. Whether he had differences with the President doesn't matter because disagreements also exist in cabinet. Yes some BDP members in Lobatse are worried over the latest developments. The committee wants to engage Dr Matsheka," said the member.

In addition, the outspoken BDP veteran who preferred anonymity in fear of vengeances said it seems like Masisi is losing control of both BDP and the government. This, he said, is evinced by the voluntary resignations of senior government officials. Former Director of Financial Intelligence (FIA) Dr Abraham Sethibe is one senior government official who resigned earlier in the week.

To that end, the BDP elders committee also demand audience with Masisi over these matter. "It is very sad at this time when we are getting close to the elections cycle when we hear of the government officials resigning. Something is wrong and Masisi must not let things turn nasty as they can. He is likely to be running the government administration that is not happy," he added.

According to the BDP constitution, the mandate of the Committee of Elders is to investigate, arbitrate and reconcile differences and disputes where necessary within the party structures and members. Some high profile BDP elders last year openly criticized Masisi over the floor crossing bill which has been passed by Parliament, saying that it is undemocratic as it impede on people s right to associate.

Under the now gazette floor crossing law, Masisi wants MPs to lose their seats once they defect.

Political analyst Lesole Machacha said factions are likely to rock the BDP as a result of the recent cabinet reshfulle insisting that Dr Matsheka wield power as he is loved by the BDP MPs. He observed that there is something that could be bothering Matsheka but it is not power at all. "This is the time whereby BDP backbenchers come into play and factions emerging. BDP is on time of power struggle as members line themselves to succeed Masisi. But it seems like that Matsheka is not into power if he can show intentions to resign. He is influential," said Machacha.

In addition, Machacha said that Masisi wields power to decide over who he wants to work with as well as dropping the underperforming ministers but said that with Matsheka that is not the case.

Matsheka was not available for comment at press time as he didn't answer calls to his mobile phone.

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