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.
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.