Tough road ahead as Moitoi takes Masisi head on

The move will backfire badly- Maundeni

A move by the former Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Pelonomi Venson Moitoi to challenge President Mokgweetsi Masisi for the Botswana Democratic Party presidency has already backfired.

Moitoi, who announced this week that she will be challenging Masisi for the party’s presidency during the July congress, was on Wednesday afternoon dropped from cabinet and replaced by Frans Solomon Van Der Westhuizen.

The move to challenge Masisi comes in the midst of bitter BDP factional wars, charaterised by the emergence of a group of disgruntled members plotting to topple the president from his seat.

In the past weeks there have been reports that the group was struggling to find a leader who can take Masisi head on.

Although Moitoi denied that the faction allegedly with Khama at its behest had recruited her into its fold, allegations have been rife that she was the new leader of New Jerusalem.

“At the age of 68, do you think I can allow myself to be used? This is my choice as a woman,” she said in a telephone interview.

Moitoi further explained that people should note that her decision to retire from contesting in her constituency did not mean retirement from political position.

“I saw an opportunity to represent women and I took it. There is no law that forbids party members from challenging the president,” she said

The veteran politician who has been in cabinet since 2011 also dismissed allegations that she was doing former President Ian Khama’s bidding whose fall out with the current president has been playing out in the public space for many months.

She said that despite the idea being her personal decision she will not close doors on Khama or whoever is willing to support her.

It was unfortunate that the letter of her intention to challenge for the presidency was leaked to the media before she could meet with Masisi, Moitoi noted.

“I had wanted to meet with him in person but unfortunately someone at the party decided to leak the letter before our meeting,” she said.

Meanwhile, according to Political analyst and former lecturer at the University of Botswana, Zibani Maundeni, Moitoi is within her right to contest for any position she wants including for the presidency.

“I think she did all the calculations looking at the fact that age is not on her side and the campaign will be heavy on her. She has to convince all BDP members that she is a strong person to lead.”

However, Maundeni said Moitoi’s would be an uphill battle, as she will be challenging a sitting president.

“She must be ready for what’s coming her way because she will suffer the consequences. Moitoi might have people cheering her up now but once she losses she will suffer alone. She will be isolated without even friends but again it is too late for her to back down on the decision,” Maundeni posited.

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