Kabo Sebele on how the BDP rejected him
He was welcomed into the Botswana Democratic Party with jubilation and fanfare in 2002.
Kabo Sebele’s relations with party officials however rapidly deteriorated after he was Specially Elected as a councilor under Molepolole North Constituency in 2009.
Listening to him, one can tell that Kabo Sebele spent most of his time as a frustrated BDP member before he realized that the damage was irreparable and eventually decided to call it quits. (when)
Although he lost elections twice to the then Member of Parliament, for Molepolole, Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri, Sebele is adamant that he was hard done by those who favoured his erstwhile opponent and therefore pushed him out the party he loved.
The Voice Staffer, Daniel Chida sat down with the 39 -year- old politician recently for an interview on his treacherous political journey so far.
Q: Can you take us through the journey of your life as a BDP politician?
I joined the BDP in 2002 under the Molepolole North Constituency.
I received a warm welcome within the party to a point where I was elected into the Culture and Publicity Sub Committee in 2007.
In 2008 I contested BDP primary elections against the incumbent MP, Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri but lost.
I was then made a specially elected councillor. After that nomination, an atmosphere of animosity between me and the then MP developed because he suspected I was being groomed to take over from him.
He therefore started to sideline me; he would hold meetings without my knowledge.
There was a lot of intimidation and people were influenced negatively against me to a point where many didn’t want to be associated with me.
The situation was so bad that some of my fellow members would quash my motions at council without valid reasons.
Q. Was your relationship with Matlhabaphiri that bad?
Yes, it was terribly bad and people started to question my membership asking why I was nominated under Molepolole North while I resided in Molepolole South.
The sabotage and backstabbing was intense. I remember there was a time I was allowed to use the kgotla to hold a Youth Seminar because the community hall was under renovation but Matlhabaphiri sent people to ask our Kgosikgolo to stop the meeting.
Even government and parastatals officers were instructed to disperse.
Q. Why didn’t you escalate the matter to the party leadership?
After the Maun Congress, a delegation from the newly elected Central Committee came to address members at our constituency and they told us that the President wanted Matlhabaphiri to contest unchallenged for the 2014 general elections.
It was a clear message directed at me to abandon the idea of challenging Matlhabaphiri.
I was warned publicly that if I ever dared challenge him, I would not be allowed to contest once Matlhabaphiri retires.
I felt belittled; the best appropriate thing would have been to address me in a private set up.
Q: What did you do?
I decided to challenge the man nonetheless but when primary elections came round, I was denied access to the voters roll until the day before voters roll verification.
I was sabotaged. We found 1000 names missing but my plea was not listened to.
Towards Bulela Ditswe, Matlhabaphiri was made a Minister dealing with poverty eradication and it gave him a political edge over me.
I lost but a day after elections we found some membership cards dumped in the river.
Q. Did you help the winner in campaigning towards the general elections?
I wasn’t in a good space to do that but people constantly asked me to help because my followers were no longer cooperative.
Matlhabaphiri however was not interested so reconciliation efforts fell through.
And then the man lost a BDP stronghold constituency to the opposition.
Q. Since you were frustrated why didn’t you try again to engage party leaders?
I asked for the Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi’s audience just to get clarity on whether I would be allowed to contest in the 2019 general elections but I never got it.
I tried the Secretary General, Mpho Balopi but still failed again to a point where I had to ask a friend to facilitate a meeting for me but the friend came back with a hostile and sarcastic message for me to seek assistance with Botsalo Ntuane since I supported him for the SG position during the Tonota Congress.
I approached the minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance And Public Administration, Eric Molale calling for support on my newspaper business, which had been adversely affected by the advertising ban, but he told me that he wasn’t aware that I was still a BDP member.
That was when the message that I was no longer wanted in the BDP reached home loud and clear.
Clearly the BDP leadership was waiting on me to leave. I hope they are now happy that I have left.
Q. What is the way forward?
I have decided to take a break and focus on my business.
Q. There are allegations that you will be joining the Ndaba Gaolathe faction, how true is that?
BMD is going through a rough patch right now and it will not be wise for me to join them when the party is still in a mess.
Would I join Ndaba and company if they were to form a new party and contest for Molepolole South?
That is something I cannot comment on right now. Only time will tell so let’s wait and see!