Who will occupy the hot seat?
Citizens are waiting in anticipation for the next second-in-command of Botswana’s executive.
With less than a year left for President Ian Khama’s term to come to an end, speculations has been rife concerning who will become the next Vice President (VP)
As per the automatic succession, Khama’s Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi is expected to automatically ascend to the presidency until the country goes to the polls in the 2019 General Elections.
Some party insiders argue that Khama chose Masisi, because he perceived him as someone whom he could control and use to secure his grip on power after his retirement.
Although Masisi announced at a rally in Maun last year that he too would independently appoint his vice, sources within the BDP have speculated that Masisi was more likely to take instructions from Khama on the choice of a VP.
Voice Staff writer, Daniel Chida looks at a few potential candidates.
Thapelo Olopeng: The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, has been a close associate of the president for many years.
After the 2014 general elections, some political pundits flaunted him as a frontrunner to the vice presidency.
Despite the strict Liquor laws that Khama put in place when he took over, Olopeng has been the only legislator who could bend the rules to his advantage, extending trading hours in his constituency as he wished over the festive season.
The two are always together during Khama’s adventures such as, Khawa Dune Challenge and the Makgadikgadi epic.
Just like Khama, Olopeng was a soldier before and he left at the rank of a Captain.
It is not a secret that Khama has trust in the men from the barracks.
Dr Pelonomi Venson- Moitoi: Despite reports that Khama did not offer her enough support during her campaign for AU Chairperson position, the two are from Serowe.
Khama has a soft spot for the minister of international affairs and cooperation who often comes across as a mother figure in the BDP.
Moitoi too has been supportive of whatever Khama does. Although she lost heavily to the Guma-Olopeng faction in 2013 BDP congress elections, Moitoi remains a respected figure in the BDP.
She also commands some level of respect across the political divide evidenced by how respectful opposition MPs, are towards her in parliamentary debates.
Tshepang Mabaila: Some commentators say there is nobody who knows Khama more than this youthful man.
In a recent interview with The Voice, The Senior Administration Officer- Health Safety at the Ministry of Lands Management, Water and Sanitation Services, made it known that he had ambitions to become the next vice president of this country.
There could be a possibility that he had discussed the issue with his ‘friend,’ Khama.
Mabaila’s authority apparently instills fear in many civil servants because his word has become their command, something, which has earned him the name, Khama’s blue-eyed boy.
Like Olopeng, Mabaila has a history within the barracks where he worked before he quit at the rank of private to join the civil service.