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Vice president embarrassed me – Kgathi

Former Minister of Defence and Botswana Democratic (BDP) Deputy Secretary General, Shaw Kgathi, has thrown his name in the hat for the Secretary General position for the August elective congress.

Once a political heavyweight in the ruling party, Kgathi appears to have fallen out of favour with a faction of the BDP aligned to the President of the party, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, and the Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane.

This past weekend, the apparent fallout played out in public when Kgathi was unceremoniously chased out of a non-official BDP meeting in Francistown. We caught up with Kgathi to discuss his preparations for elections.

You have been keeping a low profile, what have you been up to?

I have actually been politically active through assignments of the Central Committee being the Deputy Secretary General and a Member of the Central Committee for Francistown, otherwise my farm has been keeping me busy.

It is no secret that you are contesting for the Secretary General position of the BDP; why have you decided to run for the position this time around?

I have decided to stand this time around because first, I am a bonafide member of the BDP in good standing, but most importantly I am neither engaged in full-time employment nor in Parliament therefore I will have the time and I feel confident that my experience both in government as an MP and former Minister in the Ministries of Agriculture, Youth, Sport and Culture, Presidential Affairs and Public Administration as well as the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security and Deputy Secretary General of the BDP since 2017 till now has capacitated me with the necessary exposure and expertise to be able to handle the office of the Secretary General.

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You have been a part of the BDP NEC before, should you be voted into the party position, what new changes and or improvements would you bring to the table?

My ambition as the incoming SG is to get back to basics and work on a transformational agenda for the party in its governance and administration.

I am looking forward to ensuring that the regional structures are empowered.

I am committed to the political empowerment of women and youth in particular as they constitute the bulk of our voting population.

I am looking forward to reviving and energising all the party structures and enhance party mobilisation in preparation for the 2024 general elections.

High on my priorities is to further ensure and enforce discipline, accountability and good ethical conduct among party members and its leadership.

There have been talks of factions, whether real or perceived, within the BDP; is this true?

There are no factions per-se but temporary groupings of people with similar interests for a particular voting pattern at any given time.

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The President of the party, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, made startling revelations in reference to his relationship with the former President, Ian Khama, at the just-ended national executive council, your thoughts?

No comment. H.E was just giving democrats an update on that aspect.

Still over the weekend, there were reports that you were chased out of a meeting by the Vice President and party chairman, Slumber Tsogwane, what exactly happened?

I was told I attended the wrong BDP meeting. That was very embarrassing for me.

Is there any bad blood between you and the party chairman?

No! We come a very long way with the VP as family friend and colleague from college. The relationship spans over 40 years.

We hear of apparent intimidation of those who are currently campaigning, who are not within a certain lobby list, is this true?

I have only picked that from the newspapers. I am not aware of it.

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The BDP fared badly in the recent by-elections, why do you think this is so?

We are yet to make a detailed analysis of why and how we lost those wards but I would answer you to say there are many reasons that can be attributed to our losses.

Are you confident of a win at the congress?

One cannot really announce the results before voting takes place.

In any contest, there are only two possibilities: win or lose.

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