Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) councillors for JwanengMabutsane have decided to disown their area Member of Parliament Mephato Reatile who is currently serving a 60-day suspension.
Reatile was suspended from the BDP by party leader Mokgweetsi Masisi for allegedly putting the name of the party into disrepute. Reatile’s suspension followed his voting with opposition MPs in parliament against the suspension of Leader of Opposition Dumelang Saleshando.
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Saleshando was named and suspended from parliament service for five (5) days for refusing to withdraw a statement he made in the house to the effect that President Masisi’s family members were benefiting corruptly from COVID-19 procurement. Reatile later stated during a national radio interview that he is against the Floor Crossing Bill.
The twelve (12) BDP councillors from the constituency on Wednesday this week said they are not happy with the way their MP has been deliberating issues in Parliament. They are of the opinion that Reatile is always articulating issues outside the principles of the ruling party.
“We want to make it clear that we support his 60 day suspension as imposed by the party. Batswana should know that we have never tolerated what the MP has been doing. We are not with him and we know that he is on his way out of the BDP, but rest assured we are not going anywhere.
“From the attitude we have gathered from the MP, it will always be difficult to advance BDP policies together,” councillor for Ngami Ward in the constituency, Oduetse Rabanna said this week.He told a press conference at Tsholetsa House that having worked with Reatile for ten years as his Senior Administration Officer, he knows him better than anyone. He said the MP wants to attack the party from within as he has shown in the past few weeks.
“We will not allow that to happen. We would do anything in our power to fight enemies of our party and president. We know there are enemies outside and within but we will not allow them to prevail. It is clear that the MP is no longer with us,” Rabanna said, adding he is convinced that Reatile is joining the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF). BPF, a breakaway party from the BDP was formed last year June by disgruntled members following a fallout with Masisi. According to Rabanna, Reatile will join BPF because he would be following former President Ian Khama. Khama, a Founding Patron of the BPF ditched the BDP due to his fallout with Masisi who took over from him in April 2018.
“He should just go and join BPF. We know that is where he is heading because Khama made him what he is. We should let him go as a party before he destroys us internally. He is fighting Khama’s wars within the BDP.
“The party’s allegations against Reatile are a slap on the wrist. They did not ask us about his behaviour, we could have made them have a strong case than what they have now. The MP is destroying the party at the constituency. The BPF was recently at Lerolwane and Sekhutlane villages doing membership drive and this is all because of Reatile,” claimed the councillor.Reatile has maintained that he is a member of the BDP in good standing. Asked about the claims and attack against him by the councillors, Reatile responded “all is well there is nothing to worry.”