With only three days left before the much awaited general elections on Wednesday, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) President Mokgweetsi Masisi, has revealed how he intends to reform this country and indeed confirmed he is what the doctor has ascribed for this nation. Masisi’s promises remains unchanged, be it either at political rallies and or Kgotla meetings. His modus operandi is underpinned on five main factors which he strongly believes they could herald a new Botswana under his BDP. A BDP which has ruled since independence 53 years ago
MASISI SAYS NO TO CORRUPTION
Masisi since ascending to the nations’ top post in April last year, has proven to be a new broom that sweeps the mess linked mostly to his predecessor Ian Khama. He has come out clear that he has zero tolerance for corruption and he distastes it with vigor and will do everything that Botswana remains a corrupt free nation, should he get a fresh mandate on Wednesday. “The main thing that hinders progress is corruption and you are going to be fighters in elimination of corruption” he has in the past specially told this to his cabinet ministers. “If anyone among us is corrupt we will deal with them.
If you have done something that was not deemed corrupt in the past, now it is, stop it because we will deal with it. Right now, there are no drugs at hospitals all these are attributed to corruption. It is not about money only, but rather inefficiency, claiming overtime that you didn’t work, lying that you dispatched tablets to hospital while you did not. The executive is supposed to direct all these and they should be sophisticated in dealing with this. If you are ministers don’t try to be a Permanent Secretary (PS), lenna I mustn’t want to be Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP),” he warned with passion.
BDP PROMISES COMPREHENSIVE CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW
For a long time now, various quarters have called for the constitutional revision and Masisi has also joined the bandwagon; but that could only be achieved if he is given a new mandate, he has reiterated this at his consultative Kgotla meetings. This, Masisi has also shared with his party candidates that as a party, plans are underway to revise the constitution as it has been demanded. He has asked his parliament candidates to tell voters that the constitution will soon be revised. “Manifesto is linked to the constitution and we will have a comprehensive constitutional review, that’s the promise you should tell people.
But it will be done when given new mandate so that we can argue at length and all the stuff. The review should be orderly and purposeful and from all Batswana.” He has also cited example of Ntlo ya Dikgosi, saying some feel they are not included arguing that everyone should be equal. “The intention is not to break anyone but rather unite us as Batswana.”
MASISI ON THE JOB CREATION QUESTION
The latest statistics has showed that Botswana has 17.90% unemployment rate with the youth especially graduates mostly affected by this disaster. The party through its leader has made it their priority to ensure that most Batswana are employed in the next five years as Masisi continues to source out Foreign Direct Investments and luring in investors to check the local environment. He has decided not to commit as to how many jobs he would have created if given mandates.
“I know that you have appetite on the number of jobs we would have created in five years. We shied away from doing that, deliberately so. And that doesn’t make our creation of job any lesser. There are lots of variables that come with job creation or committing to such. What do we do when South Africa stop our container import, what do we do? Wage bill going up without any returns coming in.”
President Masisi has upped the tempo in ensuring that the youth are empowered by introducing the President’s Initiative. This week two youths were roped in by Steve Harvey’s Family Feud show as interns. Not only that; his commitment to ensure most youth are employed has seen him inviting businessman Strive Masiyiwa, where they both agreed that they will sweat until at least 3000 youth are employed. This he says will be anchored on the ICT as it has proven that it is the only tool that could emancipate the youth from trenches on joblessness. “Before the next five years elapses, Rwanda will be behind us.
But we need political commitment and it should be Batswana running these ICT projects not underhand deals of tenders. We will have to involve them (youth) in town hall meetings just like we did with Masiyiwa some years back. Will be carrying out another one where we are expecting 6000 youths.” He said further reiterating that, “Government does not create jobs but rather create enabling environment. We want to open this economy and this need us working together”.
To further demonstrate his call Masisi through his government has Botswana submitted a bid to host the Forbes 2020 under 30 summit billed for April next year. “As part of president’s initiative the government is negotiating with Forbes to host a summit that brings together 600 of the world’s most elite entrepreneurs and game changers including 200 from the host country and 200 of the best under 30s from around the world.” This summit according to Masisi would place Botswana at the center of entrepreneurship and incubate the local setup scene which will assist most of the budding business minds.
CITIZENS TO PARTICIPATE IN TOURISM ECONOMY
The lament that locals are pushed to the woods when it comes to the meaningful participation of the economy especially the multimillion tourism sector is another matter that will be pushed and implemented by Masisi’s led government should he succeed. “The BDP government is also concerned by the way Batswana are participating in tourism and we will implement Citizen Empowerment law and Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) law”. President Masisi says this is for the locals to be included in the economy of this country.
We will have citizen participating in tourism economy and we will also push for economic diversification law, we want them to buy and sell what is produced locally. We cheat our fiscals by supporting people who are not helping the locals.” In his meeting with the locals he has echoed the same sentiments pushing Batswana to show interest. “We will re-possess those concessions and we will offer you Batswana ba Sekei opportunity to own them. Now you should start forming clusters or cooperatives so you can work together,” he said this recently in Maun, the country’s tourism hub.
DECENTRALISATION OF SERVICES (WATER &HEALTH)
Shortages of drugs and medications in public clinics and hospitals which have been going on will have to be seriously corrected if Masisi is to win. This according to the President, will call for the decentralization of management. “We are also about to decentralize the health system. We want to decentralize management of the health services, so that decision could be taken at a local level and they are capacitated by a budget. So when we prepare for that we will ensure we include that with my competent cabinet and it looks like they will agree with me.” He said there should be no shortages of medications as that tarnish the BDP and it will be a thing of the past in the coming months. “Re rogakwa ke batho mo dintshong mo, gotwe ga gona dipilisi tsa high-blood, this should stop.”
In a kgotla meeting in Mathangwane and Mogodistshane this week he added; “We want to do the same (decentralization) for water, lea bokolla ka metsi mo go lebaneng. But we will be very sensitive to the budget implications. Because in reality part of failures with water, is procurement. PPADB Act needs to be reviewed. Information is leaked; and this is corruption! What do you want to achieve when you leak information about the multimillion tender? That must stop! Some of you who leak this I know you. This will also not grow our private sector. We might amend WUC Act, to allow Council to pump water so that we can have water in our taps, but you should know that water is a scarce resource”.
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.