Team Masisi popularly known as ‘Team Dubai’ because of its affluence, swept the stakes winning all the positions contested for in a clear whitewash victory at the recent elective congress of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
A BDP insider who witnessed it all shares the story of Team Marakanelo’s fall on condition of anonymity. The Young Turk throws blame of the faction’s loss on the lap of the faction’s leadership and operatives who failed to follow the details of their strategies. She blames complacency, naivety and the team’s counting the chickens before they were hatched as factors that connived against the team. In their minds, they had won before the polls.
Normally, when members of the ruling BDP go for a congress like the just ended one, there is a sub-committee that specifically deals with accommodation issues for the congress delegates.
“That sub committee was there even in Tonota, but it did not do its duty. What some members of the sub-committee did was that they came up with a plot to divert the delegates to the ‘Camp Dubai’ upon arrival from various destinations from across the country,” our inside source said frustratingly.
The initial arrangement was to receive delegates and usher them to hostels that were reserved for delegates’ accommodation at the Tonota College of Education (TCE). Team Masisi capitalised on the complacency of their opponents and proactively went an extra mile and waylaid all the delegates at the village junction along the A1 highway and ensured that they harvested the numbers they required to win the congress. Some delegates were collected from the bus/taxi rank and headed for Camp Dubai.
Team Marakanelo’s camp was slightly outside Tonota at a farm along the A1 highway. It was strategically located to capture delegates coming from Francistown and beyond, but it seems their advantage hardly served them, as they were not available at all.
“That is how Team Marakanelo lost the congress. The problem with them was that they were not well coordinated. No one was available to pick delegates from various points including those that had strayed into Camp Dubai.”
In the cold and breezy weather, especially after light drizzles during the congress, upon being ushered into comfort at Camp Dubai, coming out was never going to be an easy feat. People were served with scarves, gloves, blankets, beds and mattresses.
plenty and other niceties were galore to motivate delegates and settle.
“When people were given all the comfort, they had no choice but to vote for the team that cared for them,” added our source.
As for all those who had landed at Camp Dubai, it was not easy for them to leave the camp that was well guarded with private security personnel under strict instructions.
At Team Marakanelo, they slept in tents, which were also not enough although food was sufficient as the team’s numbers continued to dwindle as people disappeared to Camp Dubai.
Team Marakanelo which is dominated by members previously associated with the older formation of Barata Phathi faction was also hit by confusion especially at the 11th hour to accept some people previously associated with the disbanded political formation previously known as the A-Team which is now associated with Team Masisi.
“We tried hard to convince our diehard members to condone some of the members, especially those that were in the lead. The thinking was that we have been infiltrated by some of our rivals,” said another youthful party operative who equally preferred anonymity as their faction is yet to do congress results postmortem.
All in all, Team Marakanelo was naïve because it allowed some of their members to remain at Camp Dubai, which worked against the team led by Selebi-Phikwe East MP, Molefhi.
It was only the brave councillor Kabo Ketshogile from Letswapo region who went all out to fetch his team and relocated them to Camp Marakanelo. But, it may have been too late because their temporary host could have already finished off with them.
In a press interview immediately after the results for the chairpersonship were announced and Molefhi had lost, he (Molefhi) never wanted to blame any other forces, but indicated that in his view democracy had won and not an individual. “I accept the results and believe that life has to go on post the congress and focus on other party businesses going forward,” said the visibly disappointed Molefhi without mentioning the source of their loss.
On the eve of the congress, it was widely known that Molefhi was going to give Masisi a run for his money. But later on Friday evening preceding the elections, things dramatically changed with the pro-Masisi camp oozing confidence that it was going to give their rivals a thorough drubbing and their wish was granted.