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Khama dangles P2m before BDP MPs

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BAKANG TIRO

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At least three Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) MPs being Polson Majaga of Nata-Gweta, Sam Brooks of Kgalagadi South and Christian Greeff of Gaborone Bonnington South are alleged to have almost defected to join Botswana Patriotic Front( BPF) at a price of P2million, as a gift to entice them.

The Patriot on Sunday has it on a good authority that the three vocal BDP backbenchers have been meeting private with former President and BPF Patron, Ian Khama, to express interest to join him at BPF before the floor crossing bill was proposed by President Mokgweetsi Masisi. According to impeccable sources, Majaga, Greeff and Brooks respectively have met with Khama and two (2) BPF Central Committee members and each of them asked for atleast P2 million before defecting.

However, no love is lost between the BDP MPs and the BPF as their bromance has caused panic in the BDP leadership, particularly President Mokgweetsi Masisi after he found out that his charges are fraternising with Khama. “The MPs had finalized to jump ship after meeting with Khama secretly to show their ambition to join BPF. But things changed immediately when the floor crossing bill was about to be tabled as they demanded to be paid P2 million by Khama before crossing. The BDP realized that they have been meeting with Khama and they are now not in good books of the party leadership,” said a source.

BPF Spokesperson Lawrence Ookeditse confirmed the meeting with the three MPs but said the party doesn’t recruit members through buying them adding that BPF doesn’t have said money. “Our negotiations when we recruit the new members is that we don’t promise any money but anyone who wants to join the party is free to do so without any money involved. As the party we don’t have money to entice members to come to our party. It just take interest,” he said, reiterating that BPF is determined to recruit members of a certain pedigree as it is a competitive party.

MPs respond

Contacted for a comment on Friday regarding his links to the BPF, Kgalagadi South MP Brooks said BPF tried to recruit him but declined its offer of P200 000 every year while recruited. According to him, he believes that there is nothing wrong for him to be talking to Khama while still a BDP legislator. “I never approached Khama or BPF and demanded that I be paid P2 million. I was recruited by one MP to the party and I was promised P200 000 per annum. They also promised to build houses in my constituency. I am loyal to the BDP since 1984 when I became its member,” said Brooks.

MP Greeff vehemently denied corridor talks that associate him with Khama. He said while it is normal for parties to recruit from each other, for him he wants BPF to return to BDP fold. “We are not for sale. It is all news to me that I have had meetings with Khama or any BPF officials.  I am a Christian and I cannot trade my constituency. My big prayer is that the elders can reconcile so that BPF members can get back to the BDP,” said Gaborone Bonnington South MP on Friday.

In an interview, Majaga said he cannot comment on the matter insisting he will never join BPF. “You can ask Brooks about the said issues. I am busy these days with issues pertaining to my court case as I am focusing on mobilizing funds to pay my lawyers. I said I will never join BPF because it is still the BDP. Khama never loved me before and I don’t know why anybody thinks I will join BPF today,” said Majaga, dismissively.

BDP panic

Sources intimate that Masisi is worried by the relations that exists between some BDP MPs and Khama. So, vice president Slumber Tsogwane who is the BDP Chairman is said to have been asked to encourage the MPs, especially those from Central District, to stop entertaining Khama’s advances.

“The MPs from the northern side of Dibete are said to be mooting plans to cross to BPF should they lose the BDP primaries. They believe that their fortunes stand a better chance when they are with BPF given the influence of Khama in the central district and how the BDP suffered defeat at the hands of BPF and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in Central District where Khama is paramount chief,” a source said.

A number of BDP legislators are disgruntled that they are overlooked by Masisi when he makes cabinet reshuffles, preferring new members who joinedthe  party from opposition. Tonota MP Pono Moatlhodi was recently promoted to Deputy Speaker position after joining from UDC. A floor crossing bill was adopted by parliament last year that clips MPs wing to change parties.

Observers said Masisi introduced floor crossing law to arrest political fluidity that rocked the BDP. The law came at time when some councillors and MPs were threatening to decamp to the BPF. Prior to the floor crossing law, BDP lost two MPs, Mephato Reatile of Jwaneng- Mabutsane who joined BPF while Francistown West MP Ignatius Moswaane joined Botswana People Party (BPP).

Floor crossing bill dictates that incumbent MPs and councillors will lose their seats when crosses. So, a fresh by-election will be called in the constituency or ward where leader move to other party.

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