Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader, Duma Gideon Boko this week addressed the local press for the first time — two and half months after failing to dislodge the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) from power in the country’s most contentious elections since 1965.
In an unexpected turn of events, Boko also lost his seat to Anna Mokgethi as the ruling party claimed all the five Gaborone constituencies. Prior to him resurfacing to attend the court proceedings, in which his party is challenging results of 16 constituencies, Boko was last seen when he was casting his vote at Masa Primary school in Phase II, Gaborone. Two days before the elections the then Member of Parliament (MP) who was also a Presidential hopeful, had pulled one of the biggest launches which saw multitudes across the country attending the rally.
When speaking to the media this week, the jovial Boko informed the members of the media that he has been well, clarifying allegations on his whereabouts. He explained that he has been behind the scenes helping in the filing of the petitions and gathering of evidence. The UDC has filed 16 parliamentary petitions before the High Court all of which the court will decided whether or not they should proceed to trial. The BDP has raised their points of law on why the court should nullify all the petitions brought before the court.
Boko confirmed that he has been involved in the day to day preparations of the petitions. “The petitions are about substantively the quality of democracy that we have in this country. The most basic principle during an election is the one vote one person principle and any departure from it vitiates the entire election,” said the former Leader of Opposition in Parliament. He further stressed that the reason they are before the court is because they believe in very formidable evidence that there was a departure from all the known fundamental principles that underpin a free and fair election.
Boko explained that they are guaranteed as a party that the evidence they hold will expose the fraudulent elections. “On the evidence that we have come across we know over bearing involvement of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security in these elections. They literally took over, they infiltrated the IEC, whether with their collusion or outside their knowledge remains to be tested in court. However, what we know for a fact is that the IEC was in a lot of instances overrun by the DIS,” he said.
Boko pointed out that it has been common knowledge that before the elections the DIS had taken an active interest and involvement in the elections, classifying it an unlawful act. “The evidence suggests that the BDP set out to defraud the country, to defraud the nation. They understood and realised pretty early that they could not win these elections and they haven’t won these elections. It would be an exercise in grotesque dishonesty to remotely suggest that the BDP was successful in these elections.”
Adding on to this, Boko bemoaned that the BDP realised well in time that they will not win, upon realising that a free and fair election will deliver a change of government, he alleges that they set out to engineer and manufacture a fraudulent outcome to the elections. “We are convinced of this because we have checked and the evidence stacks up and is continuing to stack up,” he said.
Boko however clarified that an effort to challenge the outcomes of the elections should not be reckoned as an attempt to destabilize the country. “We believe in peace and tranquillity and a person who believes in the rule of law such as myself and the petitioners as well as the UDC armed, with this evidence would then approach a court, to examine it together and in full view of the public. So those who champion a false narrative of North-South divide are either singularly dishonest or daft.”
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.