Party Chairman hopeful, Isaac Seloko speaks ahead of the July congress
The Botswana Democratic Party’s congress is fast approaching and the former A- team and Barata Phathi factions seem to have buried the hatchet and come to amicable agreement on who should represent them in the Central Committee.
There is however a stumbling block within the leaked compromise list which poses a threat to the elections process.
That glitch comes in the form of the conspicuous absence of Guma Moyo and the current Secretary General, Mpho Balopi in the compromise list.
Negotiations are apparantly still ongoing between Patrick Balopi and Pelonomi Venson- Moitoi For the Chairmanship of the party, but with Moyo eyeing the seat too,battle lines have been drawn.
In this week’s Politically Speaking, The Voice reporter Daniel Chida chats to the man earmarked for the Secretary General position Isaac Seloko about these developments.
Q. Please introduce yourself to our readers?
I was born and bred within the BDP and my parents from Senete village in the Nkange constituency are traditional members of the ruling party. I am the crop of Botsalo Ntuane, Gomolemo Motswaledi and Parks Tafa. In 1989 while doing my first year at University of Botswana I became active in politics and I became the Minister of Justice under GS26 ticket.
Q. Ok, so you are not new to politics?
Not at all, in fact in 1994 the then President Masire appointed me to the party’s Appointment and Disciplinary Committee. I have served in a number of committees within the Central Committee including the Labour Sub Committee. I served under President Festus Mogae too.
Q. You left the Central Committee at Mahalapye Congress in July 2011; can you take us through that?
The party was going through a rough patch and our President Ian Khama was trying to stabilise things but I decided to leave. I was appointed Disciplinary Committee Chairperson a position which I am currently holding.
Q. What else have you done for the party?
I chaired the Bulela Ditswe’s Appeals Board in the last General Elections. I have gone through all party structures from being the Nkange Youth Branch Chairperson to where I am now.
Q. You are known as an Attorney for Isaac Seloko Attorneys, why did you decide to join politics?
I love to interact with people and have passion and expression for the policy of the ruling party.
Q. You are contesting to be the Secretary General amongst all the positions, why?
I have gone through all positions within the party and this is the time to take the seat. You have to understand that when the campaign started I was touted for the Chairman seat but through negotiations I gave way for the veteran Patrick Balopi whom I chose to support after the Vice President Ponatshego Kedikilwe declined to stand. I would have paved way for him hence I finally accepted to stand for Secretary General. We are trying to compromise so that it does not affect us in the upcoming general elections.
Q. How is your relationship with Mpho Balopi as you are eying his seat?
He is a good friend of mine and we are not at loggerheads at all. I never had any problem with him during my campaign. I have done enough ground work and we will see the outcome July 6.
Q. What challenges did you encounter during your campaign?
The delay in settling for the Chairmanship candidate is the only concern for us. There are no more factions in the BDP thanks to His Excellency’s efforts.
Q. What are you going to do in case you make it?
My priority will be to revive structures following the demarcation of wards and branches. We have to elect new committees because areas have changed. I will also focus in unification of the party towards elections as evidenced by joining of forces by former factions and winning elections.
Q. What about mass exodus of party members?
The party has taken a decision to accept those who are willing to come back without conditions. In case I lose elections, I will remain an obedient member and serve the party just like before.
Q. Don’t you have ambitions of becoming a Member of Parliament?
Q. What about the President seat?
The future is long and uncertain but that is not my intention.
Q. Don’t you feel threatened by Opposition parties?
Opposition parties are not a threat to us because they are in disarray, they need elders to guide them and that is one main reason why Botswana Movement for Democracy collapsed.
Q. But you have been accused of buying certain members to join the BDP. How many did you buy?
We don’t buy people, they believe in aspirations and policies of BDP.
Q. Certain members of the Party were suspended; can you take us through it?
I am not privy to certain issues and the right person is the Secretary General. I deal with measures that have been reported or complaints.
Q. As someone who is educated, how did you feel when our President made a bold statement that reading is boring?
I suspect he was quoted out of context. I have worked with him and he reads everything from books to newspapers. He wouldn’t be in that position if he was not reading.
Q. Lastly tell us about your position as Chair of Directorate of Intelligence Services Tribunal Board while you are no longer a practicing attorney?
I volunteered to step down as a practising attorney, I was not scrapped off. I would have stepped down if I was not an attorney. My two branches being Gaborone and Maun are operating. The Compromise list
Secretary General: Isaac Seloko
Deputy SG: Bontsi Monare
Treasure: Satar Dada
Deputy Treasure: Kagiso Mmusi
Additional Members: Daniel Kwelagobe, Merafhe, John Ben, Fedilis Molao and Puma Matlhware.