A ferocious battle between Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), to win the Serowe West constituency has drove the two parties to stage their massive launches same day next weekend, with the ruling party planning to suspend all their national activities for the launch.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi, will launch Moemedi Dijeng, while BPF through their patron, Ian Khama, will also be unveiling their new catch in Tshekedi Khama. Dijeng replaced Tshekedi as BDP candidate following the latter’s resignation from the party last week. Tshekedi was citing failure for corrective action against BDP Women Wing Chairperson Dorcas Makgato, by the party as the watershed point. He expressed grief at what Makgato said about his late father, hoping the party would have taken action but it was not to be.
Since independence, the constituency has been held by the BDP and TK’s defection to the BPF has sent a chilling warning which suggests that the BDP dominance could be over; reason being he is the younger brother to the area’s paramount chief and the royal family have been strong in most constituencies they contest in. On the other hand, the BDP has also drafted a counter plan to neutralise a possibly high tempo launch by the newly formed party.
With Masisi going to launch Dijeng, party strategists have suggested that in order for the BDP to make a statement, all constituencies should be present at the launch. Though the proposal is yet to be adopted, it looks certain that the party will implement it. Already a star rally that was to be officiated by Masisi in Maun West, on Saturday, this however has been cancelled. “He will only attend Kgosi Tawana’s birthday party in the morning then leave for Serowe afterwards to officiate at the launch,” shared a source within the party, on Thursday afternoon.
Other activities that have been moved to Sunday includes; Francistown West candidate Ignatius Moswaane’s launch by President Masisi and another star rally in Maun East, to be addressed by party Chairman and Vice President Slumber Tsogwane. All these have been moved to Sunday as a gesture of how serious the party intends to redeem itself in the Bangwato capital. This development has been welcomed by many within the party including cabinet ministers who even added that: “I wholly agree with this and my thought is H.E should make a directive that all MP candidates should go there to make sure that we paint Serowe red.”
If suggestion to have all MPs fails, the party is still contemplating to make another statement, “but let’s not halt all activities country-wide, we can send teams from various constituencies to boost the launch,” added another party big-wig. The defection by TK who is the son to the BDP’s founding father, Seretse Khama, has posed a threat to the ruling party, with its Campaign Manager Tebelelo Seretse admitting it will cost them. Part of the reasons BDP wants to “ambush” the BPF launch is to neutralise it and try by all means to demonstrate how strong the BDP is in the area.
All the while, there are some within the party who believe the party should not try to take BPF head on by launching on the same day. “I don’t think it is wise, if it is same day with Tshekedi, it wouldn’t look good,” advised another minister. At the time of going to print, Seretse who is National Campaigns Manager and Serowe overseer, was not available to comment as she was too busy for an interview. She however did confirm that “indeed Masisi will launch Dijeng on the 12th”.
Party Secretary General Mpho Balopi, could not talk to this publication as his mobile phone rang unanswered. In the last elections, Tshekedi won the constituency by 5401. He was followed by UDC’s Rolent Kambule, who managed 948 and Botswana Congress Party’s (BCP) Edwin Seabe garnering only 431.
The relationship between Khama and Dijeng has always been rocky ahead of the party’s primary elections. Khama had wanted Dijeng who was challenging him, to be barred from contesting, saying the latter had contravened the party’s code of conduct. TK went further to drag the party to the courts of law when ‘the party defended Dijeng’s candidacy.’
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.