Making the BDP attractive again

Hardly a year after re-joining the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Kagelelo Banks Kentse has been appointed the Chairman of the Communications and International Relations Sub-Committee.

Less than a month in office, Kentse and his committee have already helped revive the party’s visibility on social media and other international platforms.

The Voice Staffer, DANIEL CHIDA paid him a visit where he shared the target of BDP gaining more than 60 percent of the popular vote in the coming elections.

Congratulations on your recent appointment. It didn’t take long!

It means I am a valuable asset! Even in 2015 I met some people who told me that the then President Ian Khama had asked if I didn’t have any interest in rejoining the BDP but I waited for the right time.

I have been in contact with President, Mokgweetsi Masisi because I treat him as an uncle and have from a young age.

I’ve also been in contact with Mpho Balopi, so going back to BDP was an easy thing. I was not bought as some allege.

Share with our readers your day-to-day duties?

We are working on developing a strategy that can help us to become attractive again to the unemployed, youth and the public in general.

We want people to know the true values of the BDP and help in job creation.

Employment should not only be a task for government, so we are finding ways to do that.

How do you intend to revive BDP, which has experienced a slight decline in each election?

In 2014 BDP lost the war on social media and within the three weeks that we were appointed, we covered that loophole.

Although we are on social media, the President asked us to be different and avoid insults at all cost.

We want those swing voters we lost back on our side.

For the first time in the BDP’s history a sitting President will be challenged. How do you feel?

A fellow democrat has shown interest. It’s constitutional but we have to take into consideration that it is an election year and the move must not cause divisions within the party.

Luckily HE has the backing of party members.

But there are factions emerging within the party, the most famous being New Jerusalem. Are you not aware of it?

I hear about Jerusalem but we don’t know who is behind it because even Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, who is challenging Masisi, has distanced herself from it.

Who is the focal point? If Moitoi goes all the way and contests against the President then the democrats will rally behind their President.

HE has embraced Moitoi to challenge him. He won’t expel anyone or sideline her.

Expelling members from the party is the root cause of splitting.

If that’s true, why was she dropped from cabinet immediately after announcing her decision?

That was logical. In fact she should have resigned before she announced!

Cabinet is a very sensitive position and you serve at the discretion of the president.

But once you declare your intention to challenge him, it shows you have no confidence in your leader and you think you can do a better job.

It is an expression of no confidence and the President had no option but to relieve her of her duties so that she can go and express herself freely.

She has to do that without bringing the party into disrepute.

Were you not surprised by her decision?

I was! Everybody is surprised: the council of elders, youth and women’s wing and the democrats are all surprised by Moitoi’s decision.

Remember she is the same person who said she was not going back to parliament and did not participate in the party’s primary elections because she told us she wanted to take a rest.

Now the question is where do you get the energy to run the country if you cannot run the constituency?

I don’t think it is her decision but the political mood in the country might be able to tell that.

Is the President not negotiating with her to step down?

He will not corner her to step down and we are busy with campaigns with the set target of 60 percent popular vote.

Maybe party elders and veterans who are not holding party positions will advise her to do that.

What can you tell us about this weekend’s Palapye retreat?

The President has called a retreat. It is a nice platform to discuss how far Masisi has come and how ready we are for elections.

We are going there to introspect. We won’t be discussing the coming congress.

HE will give the state of the party and then democrats will raise party issues and what they want.

There are allegations that HE is likely to postpone the party’s congress – any truth to this?

HE is a law-abiding citizen who cannot do that.

We cannot postpone it but if at the congress the majority of delegates decide that presidential elections should not go on then let it be.

Regions will express themselves at the congress not through letters.

What about calling early elections?

Early elections are only called when there is a crisis; currently there is none!

Are you not afraid that HE will lose to Moitoi?

There is no fear that HE may lose because he has support from all regions.

A sinister motive that there is a division between South and North is dying, people can see things for themselves.

It was just one of those initiatives meant to de-campaign HE.

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