Bobirwa Bulela Ditswe fight heats up
It’s eight months before Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) voters in the Bobirwa sub district can decide who should go on the ballot box in next year’s general elections, but mud fights have already begun.
This past Tuesday, outgoing President Ian Khama’s farewell gathering at Bobonong Kgotla presented an opportunity for the two BDP primary election rivals in the constituency to be mired in their own conflict.
A war of words has erupted between seating MP and Minister of Defence, Security and Justice, Shaw Kgathi and his rival, Francisco Malesela Kgoboko over the handling of presents given to Khama at the Kgotla.
Of late citizens have been falling all over themselves presenting Khama with various presents during his farewell tour, which takes him and his enterouge to Kasane this weekend.
Kgathi who so far has given Khama the biggest present in 10 cattle allegedly prevented the Bobirwa sub district farmers present to Khama; a trophy inscribed his rival’s name from being presented at the Kgotla.
Kgoboko has charged that the sub district farmers were left in shock after Kgathi ordered that their gift to the outgoing president be withheld because it had his (kgoboko)’s name inscribed on it as the sponsor.
“All gifts were presented except this particular one from the sub district farmers and I know its because it had Kgoboko’s name on it. Kgoboko is extremely popular with the constituency’s youth and Kgathi is fighting tooth and nail to discredit him,” said the Farmers Committee representative, David Mapetla.
“We asked Kgoboko to help financially because he is part of us and to show appreciation we branded his name on the trophy. Kgathi ordered that it should be put back in the box and that it should not be presented because it had Kgoboko’s name written in bold. This hurts because the trophy had nothing to do with politics,” Mapetla explained.
Responding to the accusations, Kgathi whose 10 Simmental cows donation to Khama received wide coverage on the government media said, “ I’m tired of petty talk.”
Before he went on to insist that all the gifts were announced and denied the farmers’ token of appreciation was not presented.
‘What is so important about Kgoboko’s little gift anyhow when people gave president such big gifts? I hear it was a trophy,’ he said dismissively.
Asked what exactly he was thanking President Khama for with the 10 cattle when he hadn’t done any major charity work in his village and surroundings, the minister explained that it was his way of recognisig Khama’s efforts in the development of the Bobirwa constituency and the country as a whole.
“Khama is a good leader and he must be appreciated.” Kgathi quipped.
Kgoboko however shot back arguing that the farmers gift had nothing to do with political campaigns, as he was very much aware and respectful of BDP primaries rules and procedures, which do not allow campaigns as yet.
He said he does not understand why their gift was not presented while Kgathi and his family presents were presented in an elaborate manner and given wide coverage on TV and print.