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BDP campaign team demand their cut

Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) national campaign team members who strategized for the party in the just ended General Elections, are waiting with bated breath for President Mokgweetsi Masisi to deliver the terms agreed before going to the polls.

This week President Masisi met with an eight member team for a luncheon at the State House. The purpose of the meeting according to head of the campaign team Tebelelo Seretse, was just “a thank you interaction by H.E to the team after General Elections.”  Seretse however could not divulge more about the Wednesday luncheon. Weekendpost has nonetheless established that before the team was assembled in July, a very casual meeting was arranged, where terms and conditions to motivate the team were agreed upon.

Seretse who was appointed by Masisi to lead the BDP campaign, had to route her subordinates’ requests to higher office for consideration. "But the final decisions was to be taken by the First Citizen [Masisi], looking at the available cloth,” a very close informant shared with this publication. After being appointed by Masisi, Seretse had to recruit other members to assist her in coordinating the ruling party’s campaign.  Information gleaned from various sources within the party tell this publication that Seretse was eyeing to be a Specially Elected Member of Parliament (SEMP).

“That was supposed to be the case but she was left in awe when she was snubbed from the August House. And for now really it is difficult to say what she can get politically, because as you may know all the vacancies are filled. It is clear she can’t go to a Council”.  Seretse, in an interview on Thursday morning, distanced herself from all these.

“H.E never promised me or my team anything. We were just doing it for the party when we were campaigning. So whoever is saying that you should take it with a pinch of salt. Remember I have been a Minister, Ambassador and all those senior positions, so there is nothing that can entice me,” said Seretse.

The campaign team was made up of Seretse as the head, Bashi Kgakge covering Kweneng and Kgalagadi, Bontsi Monare taking Lobatse and Borolong areas. Pelonomi Bantsi was overseeing Gaborone and Kweneng East, Boyce Sebetela in Central, Botho Ntirang was heading Francistown and surrounding areas, Kambimbaha Mbahanka at Chobe and Ngami and lastly Benjamin Morokonyana manning Moshupa and Kanye constituencies.

The team managed to deliver 38 out of 57 constituencies and their confidence was reaching new levels after the victory, anticipating that they will be rewarded handsomely in consideration of their demands. However, the mood in the camp is somehow sombre after the matter was not discussed at the Wednesday luncheon, an informant says. “We are politicians and for us to continue with it we have to be on the ground. The ground here I am referring to parliament or council but any portfolio is okay,” opened up one member of the team.

He added; “We didn’t discuss the demands issue at a luncheon because we were invited by Masisi and maybe he could have opened up about it, anyway it is fine he is an adult, I believe he will not forget us.” Apart from Seretse targeting SEMP, it is also revealed that one senior member of the party, Boyce Sebetela who was guarding the gigantic Central District for the elections, is said to have proposed to get blessings from Masisi to contest the party’s Secretary General position. The party will next year assemble for the elective congress and Sebetela, according to sources, wants to dethrone the incumbent Mpho Balopi, who is also Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development.

Other members of the party were to be rewarded with leadership positions of various councils. However, after what has happened to Seretse, the other members are pessimistic that they would get anything. “It is not done yet we remain hopeful that we will definitely be rewarded. We were working day and night and we will have to get something political,” added the member.  Observers however believe that Masisi will come to the party and return the favour to scores of BDP members who helped the party to retain power.

This is based on the fact that the campaign team was made up by known and influential party members and if he does not entice them he might lose their support. “He has done away with the popular names in the cabinet and the party. This was done to take control of both, but with the party it is difficult because they might change anytime if they feel you are not trustful. So he should tread carefully within the party so that the influential minds do not revolt against him,” says political scientist Teedzani Mpaphi.

Already the popular names both in the cabinet and party have been ejected. Nonofo Molefhi, Dorcas Makgato and Shaw Kgathi are among those who are now out and the only redemption they could get is to hold senior positions within the party. Masisi’s cabinet is made up of new comers and not so popular figures within the BDP. “So those senior and opinion leading members should be kept close to avoid rebellion,” advised Mpaphi.

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President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has identified at least 12 cabinet ministers who form part of his long-term plans owing to their loyalty and tenacity in delivering his vision. Masisi, who will see-off his term in 2028 — provided he wins re-election in 2024 — already knows key people who will help him govern until the end of his term, WeekendPost has learnt.

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WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?

Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.

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Civil society could rescue Botswana’s flawed democracy’ 

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In the paper titled “E-government and democracy in Botswana: Observational and experimental evidence on the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes,” the researchers offer a strongly worded commentary on Botswana’s ‘flawed democracy.’  The authors noted that with Botswana’s Parliament structurally – and in practice – feeble, the potential for checks and balances on executive power rests with the judiciary.

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